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Durham University

Department of Physics

Overview of the Postgraduate Course for Quantum Light and Matter

Quantum Light and Matter (formerly Atomic and Molecular )Postgraduate course 2018/2019

All students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 45 credits from the range of Post-graduate Lectures taught within the department during Michaelmas and Epiphany terms of their first year. The choice of courses must be agreed with the PhD supervisor and in most cases must include a recognised core set of courses specific to a PhD in atomic and molecular physics. For experimental students the three core courses and Experimental Skills are compulsory; for theory students the three core courses and Topics in Theoretical Physics are compulsory.

Available Modules and Credits

Core Modules

  • Atom-Light Interactions - Dr. T. Billam (10 credits)

Note that this activity will be held at Newcastle University

The aim of the course is to provide the theoretical framework needed to understand research publications in AMO physics. Topics covered include: The two-level atom. Quantum mechanical treatment. Rabi oscillations. The Density matrix. Including spontaneous decay. Optical Bloch equations and steady state solutions. The dipole moment of an atom in a monochromatic field. Susceptibility. The importance of coherence in atom-light interactions. Three-level systems. CPT. EIT. Atoms in external fields. The Breit-Rabi diagram.

The best graduate textbook is “Atom-Photon interactions" by Cohen-Tannoudji, Dupont-Roc and Grynberg (Wiley, 1992); closely followed by “The Quantum Theory of Light" by R Loudon (OUP). The book “Atomic Physics - an exploration through problems and solutions" by Budker, Kimball and DeMille has many useful and interesting problems. The best description of the Breit-Rabi diagram is in \Elementary atomic structure" G KWoodgate (OUP).

Newcastle University

Physics Seminar Room A, Herschel Building Annex, 3rd Floor:

Tuesday 15 Jan. 1400-1700
Thursday 17 Jan 1400-1700
Tuesday 22 Jan. 1400-1700
Thursday 24 Jan 1400-1700
Thursday 31 Jan 1400-1700

  • Data Analysis - Prof. I. Hughes (10 credits)

This course deals with measurements and their uncertainties. After a brief review of the topic at undergraduate level, we rapidly move on to more advanced concepts: the central limit theorem; correlations in error propagation; least-squares fitting; the concept of a “good fit", qualitative and quantitative; and hypothesis testing. Extensive use is made of the chi-squared statistic. The course is useful for experimentalists and theorists alike, as it allows both to answer questions such as “do the experimental results agree with the theory", “does the theory agree with the experimental results?", and for theorists, “which model works best?".

The course follows closely the treatment of I G Hughes and T P A Hase \Measurements and their Uncertainties" (OUP, 2010).

Timetable: 2-4pm on October 16th, 18th, 23rd, 25th, 30th and November 1st, 6th and 8th.

Location: Ph132

  • Atomic and Molecular Interactions - Prof C. S. Adams, Dr D. Carty, Dr R. Potvliege and Prof S. Gardiner (10 credits)

The aim of this course is to gain an understanding of the application of quantum mechanics, relevant to the study of atomic and molecular interactions. The hierarchy is from one, to two to many: laser cooling of individual atoms, interactions between pairs of dipoles, the H­2+ molecule, phase shifts, and Bose-Einstein condensation and the GPE.

Timetable: sessions will be in the slot 2-5pm, with the following dates and locations.

November 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th. December 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th. All Ph132 except 21st November,which will take place in OC103.

Optional Courses

  • Optical Design with Zemax - Prof. C. Bourgenot (7.5 credits)

Aims: To introduce the design principles of lens and mirror optical systems and the evaluation of designs using modern computer techniques. The lectures will cover lens design, aberrations, optimization, tolerancing and image quality metrics. More details at Syllabus: Lecture 1: Introduction; Lecture 2: Sequential Systems; Lecture 3: Optimization; Lecture 4: Tolerancing; Lecture 5: Non-sequential etc.

Timetable: Feb 18, 19, 21, 25, 26 10am Location: OCW108

  • Precision Optics Manufacture - Prof. C. Bourgenot (10 credits)

Timetable Feb 28, March 1, 10am Location: NetPark

  • Experimental skills (7.5 credits)

This module groups together some of the intensive training courses offered by the department in advanced experimental skills. It includes training in Inventor CAD software, mechanical workshop skills, and advanced LabView and FPGA programming.

Timetable: Jan 8th, 9.30 am, PH216 (all day) - Inventor software training

Jan 9th and 10th, 9.30 am, Mechanical Workshop (one day - Max 4 students each day) - Mechanical Workshop Training

March 25th and 26th, PH216 (all day) - National Instruments LabVIEW training

(Students must complete LabVIEW core training 1 & 2 online before this session)

  • Optical Engineering - Dr S. Rolt (7.5 credits)

The aim of this course is to provide a background or foundation knowledge in optics to enable the intelligent use of optical design software and also to provide some simple (stand alone) optical design tools. Topics covered include: introduction to geometrical optics; geometric and matrix optics (ray tracing); monochromatic aberrations; aspheric optics and chromatic aberration; diffraction and image quality; polarisation and birefringence.

Timetable: Feb 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 14 10am Location: OCW 108

  • Topics in Theoretical Physics - Dr R. Potvliege, Dr V. Kendon and Prof S. Gardiner (7.5 credits)

The aim of the course is to complement the core modules by tuition on Theoretical Physics topics of broad relevance in Atomic and Molecular Physics. Topics include the theory of angular momentum, Many-body quantum theory and quantum field theory in the context of cold atoms, and introduction to quantum metrology.


11th and 14th March (2pm) Robert Potvliege ph116
18th and 21st march (2pm) SimonGardiner ph110
27th and 28th March (2pm) Viv Kendon 106