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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2019-2020

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Physics

PHYS3721: Modern Atomic and Optical Physics 3

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None. Location Durham

Prerequisites

  • Foundations of Physics 2A (PHYS2581) AND Foundations of Physics 2B (PHYS2591) AND (Mathematical Methods in Physics (PHYS2611) OR Analysis in Many Variables (MATH2031))

Corequisites

  • Foundations of Physics 3A (PHYS3621)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None

Aims

  • This module is designed primarily for students studying Department of Physics or Natural Sciences degree programmes.
  • It builds on Level 2 courses in geometric optics and quantum mechanics by providing courses on modern optics and atomic physics.

Content

  • Fourier Optics: Fourier toolkit, angular spectrum, Gaussian beams, lasers and cavities, Fresnel and Fraunhofer, 2D diffraction – letters, circles, Babinet and apodization, lenses, imaging, spatial filtering.
  • Atomic Clocks: History of precision measurement of time. Principle of atomic clocks, revision of atomic structure, electric and magnetic dipole interactions with electromagnetic fields, selection rules. Visualising electron distributions in atoms during transitions. Spontaneous emission, Einstein A coefficient and relationship with atomic clocks, lifetimes, line widths, line intensities and line shapes. Fine-structure and hyperfine splitting, using degenerate perturbation theory to calculate the ground-state hyperfine splitting of the H atom. Lifetimes of electric dipole forbidden transitions, selection rules and relationship with atomic clocks. Zeeman effect, using degenerate perturbation theory to calculate Zeeman shifts of the hyperfine states of the ground-state of the H atom, relationship with atomic clocks. Derivation of Rabi equation for two-level system, transit-time broadening, relationship with atomic clocks. Light forces, the scattering force. Laser cooling of atoms, optical molasses, Doppler limit. Zeeman slowing and Sisyphus cooling of atoms. Magneto-optical trapping of atoms. Moving molasses, caesium fountain clock, Ramsay Interferometry. Optical frequency standards, laser locking. Optical frequency combs, ion trapping, Lamb-Dicke regime. Aluminium quantum logic clock, Ytterbium ion clock. Strontium optical lattice clock, AC Stark effect, dipole force, optical dipole traps and optical lattices, magic wavelength optical lattice. Systematic effects in optical frequency standards, comparisons between clocks. Applications of atomic clocks, time-variation of fundamental constants, electric-dipole moment of the electron and relativistic geodesy.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having studied this module, students will be able to use Fourier methods to describe interference and diffraction and their applications in modern optics.
  • They will be familiar with some of the applications of quantum mechanics to atomic physics and the interaction of atoms with light.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In addition to the acquisition of subject knowledge, students will be able to apply the principles of physics to the solution of complex problems.
  • They will know how to produce a well-structured solution, with clearly-explained reasoning and appropriate presentation.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • Teaching will be by lectures and workshops.
    • The lectures provide the means to give a concise, focused presentation of the subject matter of the module. The lecture material will be defined by, and explicitly linked to, the contents of the recommended textbooks for the module, thus making clear where students can begin private study. When appropriate, the lectures will also be supported by the distribution of written material, or by information and relevant links on DUO.
    • Regular problem exercises and workshops will give students the chance to develop their theoretical understanding and problem solving skills.
    • Students will be able to obtain further help in their studies by approaching their lecturers, either after lectures or at other mutually convenient times.
    • Student performance will be summatively assessed through an examination and formatively assessed through problem exercises and a progress test. The examination will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.
    • The problem exercises and progress test provide opportunities for feedback, for students to gauge their progress and for staff to monitor progress throughout the duration of the module.

    Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Lectures 38 2 per week 1 Hour 38
    Workshops 17 Weekly 1 Hour 17
    Preparation and Reading 145
    Total 200

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Written Examination 3 Hours 100% None

    Formative Assessment:

    Problem exercises and self-assessment; one progress test, workshops and problems solved therein.


    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University



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    If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage.  If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.