22.51 | Fall 2012 | Graduate

Quantum Theory of Radiation Interactions


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

This subject introduces the key concepts and formalism of quantum mechanics and their relevance to topics in current research and to practical applications. Starting from the foundation of quantum mechanics and its applications in simple discrete systems, it develops the basic principles of interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter.

Topics covered are composite systems and entanglement, open system dynamics and decoherence, quantum theory of radiation, time-dependent perturbation theory, scattering and cross sections. Examples are drawn from active research topics and applications, such as quantum information processing, coherent control of radiation-matter interactions, neutron interferometry and magnetic resonance.

Learning Goals

By the end of the term you should be able to:

  • Understand the concepts of modern quantum mechanics at a graduate level (such as entanglement, open quantum system dynamics, atomic interaction with quantized EM field).
  • Map experimental systems into simplified physical models, describe them with the appropriate mathematical apparatus and solve for their properties/evolution (also with the help of numerical methods).
  • Grow an appreciation (interest?) for contemporary topics of research in quantum mechanics and its applications.
  • Stop worrying about passing the qualifying exam!

Suggested Textbooks

Sakurai, J. J., and Jim Napolitano. Modern Quantum Mechanics. 2nd ed. Addison-Wesley, 2010. ISBN: 9780805382914.

Le Bellac, Michel. Quantum Physics. Cambridge University Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781107602762.

Chen, Sow-Hsin, and Michael Kotlarchyk. Interaction of Photons and Neutrons With Matter: An Introduction. World Scientific Publishing, 1997. ISBN: 9789810220266.

Topics Covered

Mathematical basis and quantum mechanics postulates

Closed system dynamics (the two-level system)

Composite systems and entanglement

Mixed states

Open quantum systems

Quantum harmonic oscillator

Quantum description of the electromagnetic field

Perturbation theory

Atomic processes (absorption, stimulated and spontaneous emission)

Scattering and interaction with matter

Requirements and Grading

6 homework assignments

1 midterm exam

1 final exam

Homeworks will be graded on a 0–1 scale, with zero if no HW is turned in and 1 if a serious effort in solving the problems has been made. The final grade will be given by the scores obtained in the midterm and final exams (with equal weights) multiplied by the average of the homework grade.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2012
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Exams with Solutions
Lecture Notes