Programme And Module Handbook
Course Details in 2024/25 Session

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Module Title LC Quantum Mechanics and Optics and Waves
SchoolPhysics and Astronomy
Department Physics & Astronomy
Module Code 03 19718
Module Lead Prof Peter Jones (Quantum Mechanics) and Dr Quanmin Guo (Optics and Waves)
Level Certificate Level
Credits 10
Semester Semester 1
Restrictions All first year Physics programmes including BSc/MSci Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics and Natural Science students taking a Physics major.
Contact Hours Lecture-36 hours
Guided independent study-64 hours
Total: 100 hours
Description Quantum Mechanics:
Experimental observations of atoms and their interactions with radiation provided the driving force for the invention of Quantum Theory. Quantum Mechanics offers the only model we have that explains the properties for atomic systems. Evidence will be reviewed that leads us to the need and use of Quantum Mechanics. We will see how Schrodinger's wave mechanics and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle can help us to understand atoms. This module concentrates on the concepts and avoids a full mathematical treatment.

Optics and Waves:
The study of wave motion underpins our understanding of basic physics. We discuss the properties of waves, often taking as an example transverse waves in strings but also illustrating how the results are applicable not only to sound and light but also to quantum mechanics. The study of optics builds directly on our wave concepts. Applications and links to other branches of physics are emphasised.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:
Quantum Mechanics:

  • Appreciate the limitations of classical mechanics and the need for a theory at the microscopic level;
  • Understand the implications of the wave-like behaviour of matter and electromagnetic radiation;
  • Understand various atomic models and the experimental evidence provided by optical and X-ray spectra, and methods for their production and study;
  • Apply the wave-like behaviour of matter to electrons and the consequences for bound states.

Optics and Waves:

  • Describe the basic concepts of wave motion and describe both travelling and standing waves;
  • Describe the interference and diffraction of waves and the importance of spatial and temporal coherence;
  • Use phasors in order to calculate interference patterns produced by sets of regular very narrow slits and also the diffraction pattern produced by a slit of finite width;
  • Describe the laws of reflection and refraction and apply them to mirrors and lenses;
  • Describe how modern light sources and detectors operate;
  • Link the concepts developed in the module and use them to solve a wide range of problems.
Assessment 19718-01 : Exam : Exam (Centrally Timetabled) - Written Unseen (80%)
19718-05 : Assessed Problems QM & OW : Coursework (20%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions Coursework (20%); 1.5 hour Examination (80%) - jointly assessed with 03 19748 LC Classicial Mechanics and Relativity 1
Other None
Reading List