8.06 | Spring 2018 | Undergraduate

Quantum Physics III


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 90 minutes / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session


Students must have completed 8.05 Quantum Physics II with a grade of C or higher.

Course Goal

By the end of this course, you will be able to interpret and analyze a wide range of quantum mechanical systems using both exact analytic techniques and various approximation methods. This course is a continuation of 8.05 Quantum Physics II, and will introduce some of the important model systems studied in contemporary physics, including two-dimensional electron systems, the fine structure of hydrogen, lasers, and particle scattering.

Required Text

Griffiths, David J. and Darrell F. Schroeter. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2018. ISBN: 9781107189638.


 Cohen-Tannoudji, Claude, et. al. Quantum Mechanics, Vol. 2. Wiley, 1991. ISBN: 9780471164357. (Highly recommended) Vol.1. is also good.

 Merzbacher, Eugen. Quantum Mechanics. Wiley, 2005. ISBN: 9788126533176. (Highly recommended)

 Shankar, Ramamurti. Principles of Quantum Mechanics. Plenum Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780306447907. (Recommended)

 Sakurai, J. J. Modern Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge University Press, 2017. ISBN: 9781108422413.

Schumacher, Benjamin, and Michael D. Westmoreland. Quantum Processes, Systems, and Information. Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780521875349.

Feynman, Richard. P. Feynman Lectures On Physics. Vol. 3. Basic Books, 2011. ISBN: 9780201021158.

Ohanian, Hans. Principles of Quantum Mechanics. Prentice Hall, 1989. ISBN: 9780137127955.

Problem Sets

There will be nine graded problem sets, and one ungraded problem set for the last week of class. Problem sets will be posted on the course website at least one week before they are due. Solutions will be available on the course website the day after the problem set is due. Graded problem sets will be returned in recitation,

For practical, not punitive, reasons, late homework will not be graded under any circumstances. This is especially important if you think you might want to change from listener to credit status. For conflicts that are known in advance, such as religious holidays or travel, problem sets should be turned in before the deadline. If you are away from MIT, you may submit your problem set electronically, as long as you alert theTeaching Assistant ahead of time. To allow for unforeseen circumstances such as illness or emergencies, one problem set will be dropped from the homework average, either an omitted set or the one with the lowest score. We strongly recommend that you nevertheless turn in all of the psets, and that even if you are unable to turn one in, that you work through the problems on your own anyway.

Problem sets are a very important part of this class. We believe that sitting down yourself and trying to reason your way through a problem not only helps you learn the material deeply, but also develops analytical tools fundamental to a successful career in science. We recognize that students also learn a great deal from talking to and working with each other. We therefore encourage each student to make his/her own attempt on every problem and then, having done so, to discuss the problems with one another and collaborate on understanding them more fully. After you have understood the problem, it is essential for your understanding to write up the solution completely by yourself. It is a breach of academic integrity to copy any solution from another student or from previous years solutions. Your solutions should be logical, complete and legible. If you cannot present a solution clearly, it is likely that you do not understand it adequately. The graders are instructed not to give credit for unclear or illegible solutions.


There will be a 1.5-hour closed-book midterm exam and one three-hour final exam. [Note: Exams are not available to OCW users.]

Term Paper

A highlight of this course is the term paper, which offers an opportunity to study in depth a quantum mechanical system not covered in the regular coursework. Every student will be expected to research, write and “publish” a short paper on a topic related to the content of Quantum Physics II or III.

The paper can explain a physical effect or further explicate ideas or problems covered in the courses. It can be based on the student’s own calculations and/or library research. The paper should be written in the style and format of a brief journal article and should aim at an audience of Quantum Physics III students. Writing, editing, revising, and “publishing” skills are an integral part of the project, which is described in full in a separate handout.

Because this course is a CI-M (Communication Intensive in the Major) Subject, in order to pass, you must obtain a grade of C or better on your term paper. If you do not succeed in this, you will get a grade of Incomplete until you revise your term paper sufficiently to earn at least a C, and only at that time you will be assigned a final grade based on the breakdown given above.


activities percentages
Problem Sets 25%
Midterm 15%
Term Paper 25%
Final Exam 35%

The faculty may alter grades to reflect class participation, improvement, effort, attendance, and other qualitative measures of performance.

Note that this course is not graded on any predetermined curve. If the class as a whole shows exceptional mastery of quantum mechanics, the grades will be exceptionally high. Since we use absolute rather than relative standards, it is impossible for a student to lower his or her grade by helping classmates understand the material. Indeed, the process of explaining difficult concepts to a colleague can significantly help clarify and solidify one’s own understanding. Typically, students perform best when they regularly attend lectures and recitations, consistently turn in quality problems sets, put in sustained effort for their term paper, and leave adequate time for exam preparation.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2018
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes