An experimental technique is described which enables determination of the partial cross sections for electron excitation of atoms as a function of changes in spin and orbital angular momentum. This method provides a good signal-to-noise ratio in the energy region near threshold, and could be used to study long- or short-lived excited states of many atomic systems. Measurements for Na 3S−3P, near-threshold excitation are reported here. The results are generally in good agreement with the close-coupling calculations of D. L. Moores and D. W. Norcross [J. Phys. B 5, 1482 (1972)] for the largest ΔmS and ΔmL components of the cross section, but not for the component with |ΔmS|=1 and |ΔmL|=1, indicating that the exchange interaction is larger than previously recognized.
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