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 applications. It will include atomic structure, atoms in external fields, and atomic transitions. The second part of the course will include atomic clocks and their applications, search for the variation of fundamental constants, quantum information with atoms, study of fundamental symmetries and their implications for high-energy and nuclear physics. A special lecture on proton radius puzzle will be given this year.
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 textbooks: "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. Three papers are to be submitted throughout the semester. Two of the papers are part of the research project completed throughout the semester. The third paper on "Nobel prize in AMO physics" is to be submitted in the second half of the course.

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) closes (about 5pm) on Thursday.

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

Graded quizzes (20-25 minutes, 1 problem) will be given at 5 Thursday lectures. Exact dates are listed in the lecture schedule. All quiz problems are always taken from the current homework.

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.

Midterm Exam
There will be a closed book midterm exam on March 20th. 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

Quizzes and Homework Grading Policy
Quizzes will be graded using a 10-point scale. 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, quizzes, midterm exam, research project (including the presentation), and "Nobel prize in AMO physics" paper. The grade is determined as follows:
Percentage Assigned
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