Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
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.
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!
Mathematical basis and quantum mechanics postulates
Closed system dynamics (the two-level system)
Composite systems and entanglement
Open quantum systems
Quantum harmonic oscillator
Quantum description of the electromagnetic field
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.