CODE  PHY3130  
TITLE  Atomic Physics  
LEVEL  03  Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course  
ECTS CREDITS  4  
DEPARTMENT  Physics  
DESCRIPTION  Atomic physics is a subject of fundamental importance, covering everything from the physics of chemical reactions, the workings of lasers, ultraprecise metrology, and cosmology. This studyunit will introduce the main concepts of atomic physics, starting from an exploration of the hydrogen atom and building up to a description of the effects of magnetic and electric fields on atomic spectra. The main principles behind lasers are also introduced, and a description of laser cooling of simple atoms given. Studyunit Aims: This unit aims to acquaint the student with several important aspects of atomic physics. It consists of: (i) an exploration of both classical and quantum models of the hydrogen atom, and an extension to alkali atoms; (ii) a description of the main features of atomic spectra; (iii) a discussion of allowed and forbidden atomic transitions; (iv) the effect of magnetic and electric fields on atomic spectra; and (v) an understanding of the basic concepts behind lasers and laser cooling of simple atoms. Learning Outcomes: 1. Knowledge & Understanding By the end of the studyunit the student will be able to:  list the three major spectroscopic divisions of an atomic spectrum and describe their origin;  describe the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom;  explain the various steps involved in deriving the quantum mechanical hydrogen wavefunctions;  list and describe the origin of the selection rules governing electric dipole transitions;  describe the main broadening mechanisms affecting spectral features;  explain the concept of the quantum defect as an effective picture for alkali atoms;  explain why ordinary vector addition does not apply to atomic angular momenta;  compare the LS and jj coupling schemes;  list Hund's rules;  explain the importance of the Pauli exclusion principle and the exchange energy in the Helium spectrum;  describe the quantummechanical origin of the spinorbit coupling in alkali atoms;  describe the origin of the Zeeman, PaschenBeck, and Stark effects;  list the main components of any laser;  compare single and multimode lasers, and explain the principles behind laser mode locking;  list and describe at least two kinds of each of gas and solidstate lasers;  describe how optical molasses and magnetooptical traps work;  explain the physical origin of the Doppler and recoil limit temperatures;  explain the concept of BoseEinstein condensation. 2. Skills By the end of the studyunit the student will be able to:  calculate the allowed energies and orbital radii of a hydrogen atom in the Bohr model;  use given values of quantum defects to calculate the wavelength of spectral features of alkali atoms;  work out the groundstate terms and electronic configurations of the first few elements of the periodic table using Hund's rules;  calculate the approximate value of the spinorbit coupling for the hydrogen atom in the Bohr model;  derive a formula for the spinorbit energy shift under LS coupling;  calculate the number and properties of spectral features of an atom subjected to a magnetic field;  derive the threshold condition for sustaining lasing action;  derive the relationships linking the Einstein coefficients;  use the fourlevel laser model to derive an expression for the population inversion;  calculate the Doppler and recoil temperatures. Main Text/s and any supplementary readings: Recommended  W Demtröder, "Atoms, Molecules and Photons", SpringerVerlag  H Haken and H C Wolf, "The Physics of Atoms and Quanta", SpringerVerlag Supplementary  C Foot, "Atomic Physics", Oxford University Press 

ADDITIONAL NOTES  PreRequisite qualifications: A basic knowledge of calculus and a grasp of the basic concepts of quantum mechanics PreRequisite Studyunit: PHY2175 

STUDYUNIT TYPE  Lecture  
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT 


LECTURER/S  Andre Xuereb 

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and StudyUnit information are complete and uptodate at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints. Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice. It should be noted that all the information in the studyunit description above applies to the academic year 2018/9, if studyunit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years. 