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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS3390 Quantum Photonics

15 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr Almut Beige

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

This is an applied Theoretical Quantum Physics course, which provides a different insight into quantum physics than the traditional approach. Instead of studying quantum mechanics and the energy-level structure of particles in different ypes of potentials, we look into light-matter interactions on the level of single atoms and single photons. The course lays the foundations for the more advanced Quantum Field Theory course in Year 4.


PHYS2310Physics 4- Quantum and Nuclear Physics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This course gives insight into the quantum mechanics of open quantum systems. It studies the interactions between light and matter on the level of single photons and single atoms and introduces concepts that are widely used in quantum optics as well as in condensed matter physics and quatum field theory.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- describe the scattering of single photons through linear optics networks.
- transform a Hamiltonian into an appropriate interaction picture.
- know different methods to coherently control atomic systems with external laser field.
- have a basic idea of the quantisation of the electromagnetic field in free space and inside an optical cavity.
- model the spontaneous emission from an atom of photons using rate equations, quantum jump approach and master equations.
- explain laser cooling.

Learning outcomes
Demonstrate an understanding of most fundamental laws and principles of quantum physics, along with their application to a variey of areas in quantum physics, some of which are at (or are informed by) the forefront of the discipline;

Solve advanced problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools;

Use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour and interpret mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena.

Skills outcomes
A variety of methods is introduced to model the dynamics of open and closed quantum systems.


1. Introduction- Dirac notation, interaction and Heisenberg picture, photon scattering in linear optics networks.

2. Manipulation of single atoms- Ion trapping, laser interactions, different ways of manipulating atomic states.

3. Photons and phonons- Quantum harmonic oscillators, phonons, the free radiation field, optical cavities, photon number and multi-photon states.

4. Atom-field interactions- Atom-cavity interactions, single photons on demand, atom-phonon interactions, laser cooling of trapped ions.

5. Spontaneous photon emission- Density matrices, rate equations, a quantum jump approach master equations.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours128.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Online AssessmentOnline Mid-Term Assessment30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Students will have to complete an online assessment at the end of the module. This will take place during the examinations period at the end of the semester and will be time bound. The assessment will not take 48 hours to complete, but students will have a 48 hour time period in which to complete it. Students must submit a reasonable attempt at all assessments for this module to pass this module.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 12/10/2020 15:48:24


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