PHY332: Atomic and Laser Physics

Prof. A.M. Fox

Autumn Semester, 20 lectures, 10 credits

This third year core module covers the quantum theory of atoms and atomic spectra, and also the basic principles of lasers.

Course description

PHY332 covers the quantum theory of simple atoms and atomic spectra, and also the basic principles of lasers. The first part of the course covers the physics of atoms and atomic spectra, beginning with hydrogen and then moving on to multi-electron atoms. The second part gives an introduction to laser physics, with emphasis on the basic principles of amplification by stimulated emission.

The aims of the course are as follows:

  1. to understand the quantum theory of the hydrogen atom and other simple atoms;
  2. to describe the main features of atomic spectra ;
  3. to understand the basic principles of laser operation;

Return to top of page.

Lecture schedule

LectureTopic
1 - 2Introduction
3 - 5The hydrogen atom
6 - 8Radiative transitions
9 - 10Shell model
11 - 12Angular momentum
13 - 14Fine and hyperfine structure
15External fields
16Helium
17 - 20Laser physics

Return to top of page.

Lecture notes (in .pdf format)

The lecture notes for the course are available here .
Supplementary notes on hydrogen are available here .

Return to top of page.

Course assessment

ExamHomework
85%15%

The written examination will contain 5 questions. Candidates are exepcted to answer three questions. Question 1 is compulsory and consists of several short parts covering the whole syllabus. Candidates may then choose any two from the remaining four questions which cover parts of the syllabus in more detail.

Return to top of page.

Homework

Homework 3: Due Monday 7th December, 2015.

Return to top of page.

Past exam papers

Past exam papers may be downloaded from here.

Numerical answers for recent papers may be downloaded from here.

Return to top of page.

Recommended books

Other useful books include

Return to top of page.