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2023/24 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 2023/24

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 types 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
PHYS2311Physics 4- Quantum Phenomena
PHYS3390Quantum Photonics

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.


Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application in quantum photonics of:
1. Manipulation of single atoms
2. Manipulation of single photons
3. Photons and phonons
4. Atom-field interactions
5. Open quantum systems

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

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

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In-course, formative coursework

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 30 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Students will have to complete an in-person exam 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.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 12/05/2023 16:28:33


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