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The mhchem lets me typeset molecules. But, I do not know how to properly typeset the energy levels important in spectroscopy.

For example, in this paper, section 2.1, we find the following:

H_2O(2_{21}-1_{10})

I can do it by hand, but maybe there is a more official way?

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    I'm not a chemist and I don't know the conventions on the notation of energy levels. Can you give the general rule for this? – Ruben Oct 30 '13 at 12:07
  • I would imagine that doing it by hand is the official way. I don't see any benefit doing it any other way for this particular example. – LordStryker Oct 30 '13 at 12:13
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    I'd simply write this directly: \ce{H2O}($2_{21}$--$1_{10}$). (One could of course write a macro for it... \newcommand*\transition[2]{($#1$--$#2$)} and then use \ce{H2O}\transition{2_{21}}{1_{10}}) – clemens Oct 31 '13 at 18:55
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    @clemens The link above is dead. Do you wanna convert your comment to an answer? – Johannes_B Mar 22 '15 at 12:45
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    @Johannes_B, Niriel: done – clemens Mar 24 '15 at 8:40
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I'd simply write this directly:

\ce{H2O}($2_{21}$--$1_{10}$)

One could of course write a macro for it, e.g.:

\newcommand*\transition[2]{($#1$--$#2$)}

and then use

\ce{H2O}\transition{2_{21}}{1_{10}})

in the document.

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