Benford's law and complex atomic spectra

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Pain, Jean-Christophe
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We found that in transition arrays of complex atomic spectra, the strengths of electric-dipolar lines obey Benford's law, which means that their significant digits follow a logarithmic distribution favoring the smallest values. This indicates that atomic processes result from the superposition of uncorrelated probability laws and that the occurrence of digits reflects the constraints induced by the selection rules. Furthermore, Benford's law can be a useful test of theoretical spectroscopic models. Its applicability to the statistics of electric-dipolar lines can be understood in the framework of random matrix theory and is consistent with the Porter-Thomas law.
Comment: 7 pages, 2 figures. submitted to Physical Review E
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Quantum Physics
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