Course Overview

Course Description

This course will be on Modern Applications of Atomic Physics. The first half of the course will include introduction to fundamental atomic physics essential to the understanding of the other topics and approximation methods. The second part of the course will include selected topics in modern atomic physics: atomic clocks and their applications to the search for the variation of fundamental constants and dark matter, quantum information with atoms, and others (TBA).
The students will receive instruction in literature research, scientific writing, and presentation. The course will include a research project (instead of a final exam). The students will select an AMO topic, carry out literature research, write a short paper and give a Power Point presentation. There will be a computational component of the course and students will get practical experience with the atomic calculations using provided computer codes.

Course Level

The course is aimed at both graduate students of all levels and senior undergraduate students.

Quantum mechanics


There is no course textbook.
Parts of the course will use "Atomic physics : an exploration through problems and solutions" by Dmitry Budker, Derek F. Kimball, and David P. DeMille.
Other AMO textbook used in the course: "Atoms, molecules and photons: an introduction to atomic-, molecular-, and quantum-physics" by W. Demtroder, 2nd ed. (2010). Electronic version of this textbook is available for download from the UD library web site (search via DELCAT).

Instructor Information

Research Fields
Theoretical Atomic Physics
Marianna Safronova's Research web site

Course Requirements

Second writing requirement

This course has been approved for second writing requirement. First paper: "Nobel prize in AMO physics". Second paper is a part of the research project completed throughout the semester.

All homework assignments and their due dates will be posted online. The homework is to be either brought to the lecture or put in my mailbox in the physics office (Sharp 217) before it closes (about 5pm) on the due date.

Computer assignments
The codes and examples for the computer homework assignments will be stored on department computer You can use ulam to work on the assignments.

Interactive lectures
I will frequently give problems or derivation to do during the lectures (not graded) or ask questions. The entire class is expected to work out the problems (with my assistance). Therefore, please have a few pieces of paper during each lecture.

There will be two closed book exams. There will be no final exam.

Course Policies & Grading

Course Policies

Late homework or other assignments
Only excused absences are eligible for submitting late homework or any other assignment. If you miss project-related lecture or are unable to submit homework or papers on time due to an excused absence you have to notify me by e-mail. No late homework returns will be allowed one week after the deadline unless special circumstances are present. If you anticipate a conflict ahead of time, then you should let me know in advance that you will or may be absent.  University policies ( ) outline the criteria for an excused absence.

Academic Honesty
Student Guide to University Policies: Code of Student Conduct

Homework Grading Policy
Unless noted otherwise, homework problems are graded on a 3-point scale described below.

3 points
The problem is solved correctly and correct answer is obtained.
2 points
Substantial portion of the solution, which is in the direction of the correct answer is given or complete (in principle correct) solution is given but some mistake is made which lead to incorrect answer.
1 point
An attempt to solve problem has been made and an understanding of how such problem may be solved is demonstrated (some work in the direction of the correct solution is present).
0 points
No solution is provided or no understanding of how such problem may be solved is demonstrated.
The total number of points and the possible maximum number of points will be marked on the homework. NO homework grade is dropped when the final homework grade is determined.

Course Grade

Your final grade for Physics 626 will be based on your total score for homework assignments, exams, research project (including the presentation), and the "Nobel prize in AMO physics" paper. The grade is determined as follows:
Percentage Assigned
Exam #1
Exam #2
Research project
"Nobel prize in AMO physics" paper

Rough guidelines for letter grade ranges are listed below.

93 - 100
90 - 92
85 - 89
80 - 84
75 - 79
70 - 74
65 - 69
60 - 64
57 - 59
53 - 56
50 - 52
< 50