Atomic and Optical Physics I

A vector rotates around a vertical axis with rotation angle of θ.

Magnetic moment precessing in a magnetic field. Atoms are often described as two-level systems, and their dynamics is identical to a magnetic moment driven by time-dependent magnetic fields. (Courtesy of Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle).


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As Taught In

Spring 2014



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This is the first of a two-semester subject sequence that provides the foundations for contemporary research in selected areas of atomic and optical physics. Topics covered include the interaction of radiation with atoms: resonance; absorption, stimulated and spontaneous emission; methods of resonance, dressed atom formalism, masers and lasers, cavity quantum electrodynamics; structure of simple atoms, behavior in very strong fields; fundamental tests: time reversal, parity violations, Bell's inequalities; and experimental methods.

Related Content

Wolfgang Ketterle. 8.421 Atomic and Optical Physics I. Spring 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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