MPhys Physics with Astrophysics / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHYS20101
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Introduction to Quantum Mechanics


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Mathematics 1 PHYS10071 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Dynamics PHYS10101 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Vibrations & Waves PHYS10302 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Mathematics of Waves and Fields PHYS20171 Co-Requisite Recommended


To introduce the fundamental ideas of quantum mechanics that are needed to understand atomic physics.

Learning outcomes

On completion successful students will be able to: 

  1. Understand how quantum states are described by wave functions. 

  1. Deal with operators and solve eigenvalue problems in quantum mechanics. 

  1. Solve the Schrodinger equation and describe the properties of the simple harmonic oscillator. 

  1. Deal with algebra of angular momentum operators and solve the simple eigenvalue problems of an angular momentum in quantum mechanics. 

  1. Use quantum mechanics to describe the hydrogen atom.

  2. Use quantum mechanics to describe the properties of one-electron at


  1. Basic Elements of Quantum Mechanics 

Time dependent Schrödinger equation and time evolution. (2 lectures) 

  1. Commutators and compatibility 

Operators and quantum states, commutation relations and compatibility of different observables. 

(2 lectures) 

  1. The Harmonic Oscillator 

Stationary states, energy levels of simple harmonic oscillator, vibrational states of a diatomic molecule (2 lectures) 

  1. Orbital angular momentum 

Particle in two dimensions (eigenfunctions and eigenvalues of Lz), particle in three dimensions (eigenfunctions and eigenvalues of L2 and Lz), rotational states of a diatomic molecule. 

(4 lectures) 

    Assessment methods

    Method Weight
    Other 10%
    Written exam 90%

    10% Tutorial Work/attendance 

    Feedback methods

    Feedback will be offered by tutors on students’ written solutions to weekly example sheets, and model answers will be issued.

    Recommended reading

    Phillips, A.C. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (Wiley)
    French, A.P. & Taylor, E.F. An Introduction to Quantum Physics (Thomas Nelson)


    For general background reading:
    ed. Manners, J. Quantum Physics: an Introduction (IOP in association with the Open University)

    Study hours

    Scheduled activity hours
    Assessment written exam 1.5
    Lectures 22
    Tutorials 4
    Independent study hours
    Independent study 72.5

    Teaching staff

    Staff member Role
    Michael Seymour Unit coordinator

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