MPhys Physics with Astrophysics / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Applications of Quantum Physics

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHYS30101
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Applications of Quantum Physics


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics PHYS20101 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


To develop the basic concepts of quantum mechanics and apply them to a variety of physical systems.

Learning outcomes

On completion successful students will be able to:
1. Describe the features of quantum-mechanical tunnelling and calculate the probability of tunnelling through a barrier.
2. Solve simple eigenvalue problems, calculate expectation values and probabilities for systems of
trapped particles and describe features arising from the associated shell structure.
3. Apply the basic concepts of quantum mechanics to two-state systems to solve eigenvalue
problems, calculate expectation values and probabilities.
4. Add angular momenta in quantum mechanics and apply to the fine-structure of atomic energy
5. Calculate first-order shifts in energy levels produced by external fields.
6. Define entangled states in quantum mechanics and use these to describe simple ideas of
quantum information.



1. Reminder of the Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics (1 lecture)

2. Barriers and tunnelling (3 lectures)
Applications to nuclear physics and solid-state physics.
Simple descriptions of resonant tunnelling in layered semiconductors.
3. Trapped particles (6 lectures)
Eigenvalue problems for quantum dots, quantum wires and quantum wells – shell structure and magic numbers.
First-order perturbation theory.
4. Spin and other two-state systems (5 lectures)
Angular momentum and ladder operators.
Quantum mechanical representations of intrinsic spin.
Adding angular momenta.
Other two-state systems.
5. Atoms and magnetic fields (3 lectures)
Magnetic fields in atoms: spin-orbit coupling and fine structure.
Atoms in magnetic fields: Zeeman effect and Landé g-factor.
Spectra and selection rules.
Precession and NMR.
6. Quantum information (4 lectures)
Measurement in quantum mechanics.
Quantum cryptography, teleportation and computing.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be offered by tutors in examples classes. These classes will be based on weekly examples sheets; solutions will be issued. 

Recommended reading


Recommended text:
Rae, A. I. M. Quantum Mechanics (Chapman and Hall)


Supplementary reading:
Gasiorowicz, S. Quantum Physics (Wiley)
Mandl, F. Quantum Mechanics (Wiley)
Miller, D.A.B. Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers (Cambridge)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 76.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Saeed Bahramy Unit coordinator

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