PX3A2 Quantum Physics of Atoms
Lecturer: Martin Lees
Weighting: 10 CATS
The principles of quantum mechanics are applied to a range of phenomena in atomic physics including the operation of a laser. The module also covers perturbation theory and variational methods.
Aims:
To develop the ideas of quantum theory
Objectives:
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
 Use the approximate methods of quantum theory – perturbation theory (timedependent and timeindependent), variational methods
 Explain the role of spin and the Pauli exclusion principle
 Explain atomic spectra and the structure of the periodic table
 Describe the operation of lasers
Syllabus:
Revision of 2nd year quantum theory

Approximation methods in quantum mechanics. Timeindependent perturbation theory, nondegenerate case, ground state of helium atom, degenerate case, Stark effect in hydrogen. Variational methods: Rayleigh  Ritz, ground state of helium atom

Spinorbit coupling and the Zeeman effect. Effects of spinorbit coupling, and the strong and weak field Zeeman effect using timeindependent perturbation theory

Many electron effectsindistinguishability of identical particles. Identical particles and spin; symmetric and antisymmetric states; discussion of periodic table, ionisation energies

Timedependent perturbation theory and the lasers. Derivation of Fermi's golden rule; radiation from atoms; operation of the laser including stimulated emission and population inversion. Density matrix and Bloch equations.
Commitment: 20 lectures
Assessment: 1.5 hour examination (85%) + assessed work (15%).
Recommended Texts: S.M. McMurry, Quantum Mechanics, AddisonWesley 1994
F Mandl, Quantum Mechanics, Wiley A.I.M. Rae, Quantum Mechanics, IOP, 2002; S. Gasiorowicz, Quantum Physics, Wiley, 2003;