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Department of Physics
Undergraduate Students

Physics 448 & 449: Atomic and Quantum Physics

This is a two-semester sequence that covers a variety of topics in quantum and atomic physics.  It is to a great extent the culmination of the undergraduate physics curriculum, pulling together many ideas from other courses, adding quantum theory,  and applying them to real systems. The first semester begins with the theory of relativity and then follows with a long introduction to quantum mechanics. The second semester focuses mainly on applications of quantum mechanics to atoms and other more complex systems.

This is a two-semester sequence that covers a variety of topics in quantum and atomic physics.  It is to a great extent the culmination of the undergraduate physics curriculum, pulling together many ideas from other courses, adding quantum theory,  and applying them to real systems. The first semester begins with the theory of relativity and then follows with a long introduction to quantum mechanics. The second semester focuses mainly on applications of quantum mechanics to atoms and other more complex systems.

Here is a more detailed list of topics:

448

  • Introduction to Relativity in four-vector notation
  • Experimental evidence of energy quantization
  • Old quantum theory
  • deBroglie waves
  • Wave packets and the uncertainty principle
  • The Schrodinger wave equation
  • Standing wave solutions and the energy eigenvalue equation
  • Examples:
    • Barrier penetration
    • Bound states in a square well
    • Harmonic Oscillator
  • Operators, expectation values and momentum space
  • Commutation relations and operator methods
  • Formal postulates of QM
  • Expansion of the wave function in terms of eigenfunctions
  • Measurement theory
  • Simultaneous eigenfunctions
  • Three-dimensional problems
  • Central forces and the angular momentum operators
  • Hydrogen atom

449

  • Spin operators and eigenfunctions
  • Angular momentum coupling
  • Fine structure in hydrogen
  • Perturbation theory
  • Identical particles and permutation symmetry
  • Helium atom
  • Variational principle
  • Diatomic molecules
  • Time-dependent perturbation theory
  • Quantum transitions
  • Stimulated emission
  • Scattering theory
  • Quantum statistics
  • Free-electron theory of conductors
  • Conduction bands
  • Topics in nuclear and particle physics

This course heavily uses the mathematical and physical tools developed in the previous courses of the physics major.  Calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations are used extensively in the course.

A typical text used is Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, by Griffiths.

Typical course work for each semester includes homework assignments, hour exams, and a final.


 

 
Last updated: 2/18/2007
 
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