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PH20013: Quantum & atomic physics

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2015/6
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Physics
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: PH20013 - Mandatory Extra Work (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must ( take PH10001 OR take PH10048 ) AND ( take PH10005 OR take PH10053 ) AND take PH10007 AND take PH10008
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The aims of this unit are to introduce the Schrödinger equation and its solution in one and three dimensions, and to discuss the interactions responsible for the electronic structure of atoms.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* explain the significance of the wavefunction in determining the physical behaviour of electrons;
* show how quantisation arises from boundary conditions and calculate energy levels in simple model systems;
* discuss the energy levels, angular momenta and spectra of atoms, taking into account screening, magnetic interactions and the exchange interaction.

Numeracy T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A.

Basic assumptions of quantum mechanics (4 hours): Wave functions, probability density and normalisation. Observables; position, momentum and energy. Schrödinger's equation; time dependence of the wavefunction, stationary states, superposition and measurement, time-independent Schrödinger equation.
Motion in one dimension (6 hours): Eigenfunctions of the infinite square well, parity of solutions, superposition states. Bound states of the finite square well. Motion of free particles. Reflection and transmission at a step. Tunnelling through a barrier. The harmonic oscillator.
Motion in three dimensions (9 hours): The hydrogen atom. Angular dependence of solutions, spherical harmonics, s,p,d states. Radial solutions, radial probability distribution functions, energy levels. Orbital and spin angular momentum and their associated magnetic moments. Sequential Stern-Gerlach. Spin-orbit coupling. Zeeman effect. Atomic spectra; selection rules, width of spectral lines, laser cooling of atoms.
Many-electron atoms (3 hours): Pauli exclusion principle and shell structure. Electron-electron interactions; screening and exchange interaction. Nomenclature for labelling atomic configurations and terms. Hund's rules. Spectra of many-electron atoms.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PH20013 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USPH-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Physics (Year 2)
  • USPH-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USPH-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • USPH-AFM02 : MPhys(Hons) Physics (Year 2)
  • USPH-AKM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional and Research Placements (Year 2)
  • USPH-AKM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional Placement (Year 2)
  • USPH-AFM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Research placement (Year 2)
  • USPH-AAM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USPH-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Computing (Year 2)
  • USPH-AAB06 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Computing with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USPH-AKB06 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Computing with Year long work placement (Year 2)

PH20013 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USXX-AFB03 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 2)
  • USXX-AAB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USXX-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • USXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 2)
  • USXX-AAM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USXX-AKM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • USPH-AFB09 : BSc Physics (Year 3)

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2015/16 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2016/17 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2015/16.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.