Advances in Atomic Physics

Course Aim

To introduce students to recent advances in atomic physics for quantum technologies

Course Description

Advanced level course in atomic physics. Progress in laser control of atoms has led to the creation of Bose-Einstein condensates, ultrafast time and frequency standards and the ability to develop quantum technologies. In this course we will cover the essentials of atomic physics including resonance phenomena, atoms in electric and magnetic fields, and light-matter interactions. This leads to topics relevant in current research such as laser cooling and trapping.

Course Contents

Early atomic physics
The hydrogen atom and atomic transitions
Helium and the alkali atoms
LS coupling
Hyperfine structure
Atom interactions with radiation
Laser spectroscopy
Laser cooling and trapping
Bose-Einstein condensation
Fermionic quantum Gases
Atom interferometry
Ion traps
Practical elements: Laser spectroscopy
Practical elements: Laser cooling of Rb
Applications: Quantum computing
Practical Exercises : presentations, laboratory exercises on light-matter interactions


Continuous Assessment: 40%, Midterm Exams: 2 x 15%, Final Exam, 30%.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

Quantum Mechanics

companion course to A203 Advanced Optics


No single textbook will be used during this course.

Reference Books

Advances in Atomic Physics: An Overview by Cl. Cohen-Tannoudji and D. Guéry-Odelin, World Scientific (2011); Atomic Physics by C.J. Foot, Oxford (2013); Introductory Quantum Optics by C.C. Gerry and P. L. Knight, Cambridge (2005).


Alternate years course, AY2025
Enrollment cap of 8 students