Physics 531 Fall 2011

Modern Atomic Physics

University of New Mexico

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Instructor: Prof. Ivan H. Deutsch
Lectures: MWF. 11:00-11:50 AM, P&A Room 5




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General Information


Lecture Schedule

Problem Sets

Final Project


General Information


Lecture: Physics and Astronomy, Room 5, 11:00-11:50 AM


Instructor: Prof. Ivan Deutsch

Phys/Astro Room 23, Phone: 277-8602


Office Hours: TBA


Prerequist: Physics 521-522 (Graduate Quantum Mechanics I&II)



Problem Sets: 70%

Problem sets will be distributed approximately every other a week and due in class Wednesdays.

Final Project 30%

During the last quarter of the semester you will do a research project on a contemporary subject in atomic/molecular physics and write a review article.



Official text: Atomic Physics, by B. H. Christopher J, Foot

This is modern AMO physics text, really at the undergraduate level, but covering modern topics such as laser cooling and trapping, Bose-Einstein consendation, and quantum computing with atoms.

Secondary text: Physics of Atoms and Molecules, by B. H. Bransden and C.J. Joachain.

This text is very comprehensive, covering the broad subject matter. It's level is a bit elementary though. We will not be following it directly, but will use it from time to time.


Other texts:

Tentative Syllabus


I. One Electron-Like Atoms (3 weeks)

A. Hydrogen and Hydrogenic atoms

B. Alkali atoms

C. Fine and hyperfine structure


II. Interaction of atoms with E&M field (3 weeks)

A. Tensor operators and Wigner-Eckart

B. Multipoles and selction rules

C. Stark and Zeeman effects

D. Absorption and emission as rate processes

E. Coherent coupling: Rabi flipping and Optical Bloch equations


III. Multielectron Atoms (2 weeks)

A. Identical particles and Pauli exclusion principle.

B. Central field approximation: Helium and periodic table.

C. Mean field: Hartree-Fock.

D. Correlation effects: Russel-Sanders and jj coupling


V. Laser cooling and trapping (5 weeks)

A. Light forces on atoms

B. Doppler and sub-Doppler cooling

C. Magneto-Optical Trap

D. Optical Lattices

E. Ion traps


VI. Bose-Einstein Condensation etc. (2 weeks)

A. Evaporative cooling

B. Atomic gas BEC

C. Fermi degernate gases

Tentative Schedule of Lectures




Aug. 22

Introduction: Atomic Units, Hydrogen

Foot - Ch. 1,2

Notes 1

Podcast 1

Lewandowski: Atomic Units

Aug. 24


Hydrogen and hydrogenic atoms continued


Podcast 2

Special Notes from S. Weinberg SO(4) symmetry and hydrogen

Aug. 26

Review: Perturbation theory and the Quadratic Stark Effect

Bransen & Joachian - Ch. 6.1

Notes 2

Podcast 3

Aug. 29

Review: Perturbation theory and the Linear Stark Effect

See Notes 2

Podcast 4

Aug. 31

Review: Spin, Relativistic corrections and Fine Sturcture

Foot 2.3, B&J 5.1-5.2

Notes 3



Review: Addition of Anugular Momentum

Sept. 9

Review: Hyperfine structure

Foot 6.1, B&J 5.3

Notes 4

Podcast 7

Sept. 12

Helium and two-electron atoms

Foot 3, B&J 7

Notes 5

Podcast 8

Sept. 14

Central field approximation

Foot 3, B&J 8.1-8.2

Notes 6

Podcast 9

Sept 19

Mean field approximation: Hatree-Fock

Foot 4, B&J 8.4

Notes 7

Podcast 10

Sept. 21

Correlation effects: L-S (Russel-Saunders) vs j-j coupling

Energy levels of multi-electron atoms (terms)

Foot 4-5, B&J 8.5

Notes 8

Podcast 11

Sept. 26

Interaction with electromagnetic fields:

Minimal coupling to multipole expansion

Sept. 28

Tensor operators --Rotation group

Oct. 3

Irreducible Spherical Tensor Operators
Oct. 5


Wigner-Eckart Theorem

Selection Rules (1)


Oct. 10
Wigner-Eckart Theorem

Selection Rules (2)

Oct. 12

Absorption, emission, multiplets, and 6J Symbols

Oct. 17

Coherent evolution Rabi flopping

Foot 7

Podcast 18

Oct. 19

Bloch Sphere: Pseudo-spin picture of two-level atoms and magnetic resonance

Oct. 24
Dissipation, Denisty Matrix, and Master Equation
Oct. 26
Optical Bloch Equation (I): Dipole response and polarizability

Foot 7, Notes 15

Podcast 21

Oct. 31

Optical Bloch Equations (II)

Foot 7

Podcast 22

Nov. 2

Saturation, photon scattering, cross sections

Foot 7

Podcast 23

Nov. 7

Introduction to mechanical forces of light on atoms

Radiation Pressure and Dipole Force -- Classical Picture

Foot 9.1, 9.6

Podcast 24

Nov. 9

Radiation Pressure and Dipole Force -- Quantum Picture

Nov. 14

Doppler Cooling: Optical Molasses

Foot 9.2-9.3, Phillips 1992

Podcast 26

Nov. 16
Magneto-Optic Traps

Foot 9.4

Podcast 27

Nov. 21

Beating the Doppler Limit: Ground-state dynamics, Light-shifts, and Optical pumping

Nov. 23

Polarization Gradient Cooling and the Sisyphus effect

Nov. 28

No Class -- Travel

Nov. 30

Localization in Optical Molassess: The Lamb-Dicke effect

Dec. 5

Optical lattices

Dec. 7

No Class -- Snow day

Dec. 12

Make up: Degenerate Quantum Gases and Bose-Einstein Condensates


Problem Sets

Problem Set #1

Due 8/31

Problem Set #4

Due 10/12

 Problem Set #2

Due 9/14

 Problem Set #5

Due 11/2

Problem Set #3

Due 9/28




Final Project

As a final project for the class, you are required to review a topic of contemporary interest with relation
to atomic physics. Some suggested topics are given below, but are by no means exhaustive.
You should do a literature search using Web of Science, Google Scholar, and other online database.
I can try to point you to particular key articles, depending on your interests, if you’re having trouble.
The style of your paper should be a review article, such as in Reviews of Modern Physics (though
shorter). You should adhere to the style guidelines of the American Physical Society - See for information on manuscript preparation. The article should be of
length 5-8 double column Physical Review pages. You can download Revtex for preparation in LaTex, or
use the APS MS-Word template.


• Nov. 11: Topic choice due: short description with a few references, emailed to me.
• Nov. 12: Project approved.
• Dec. 12: Final paper due (emailed to me as pdf, by 9AM)

A. Laser cooling and trapping of atoms

1) Doppler cooling, magneto-optic traps, polarization-gradient cooling.
2) Optical lattices: Cooling, trapping, control.
3) Ion cooling, trapping, and control.

B. Ultra-cold atoms
1) Photoassociation.
2) Ground-state collisions and ultra-cold gases (Feshbach resonances).
3) BEC of ultra-cold atoms.
4) Fermi-degenerate gases of ultra-cold atoms.
5) Creating cold-molecules from cold atoms.

C. Ultacold matter
1) Superfluidity in BEC and ultracold Fermions
2) Quantum phase transitions -- Mott insultar to superfluid QPT
3) BEC-BCS cross over
4) Dipolar quantum gases

D. Quantum information with atoms
1) Ion trap quantum computing.
2) Neutral atom quantum computing via collisions.
3) Rydberg blockade and dipole-dipole moderated quantum logic.
4) Quantum memory in atomic ensembles.
5) Cavity QED.

D. Coherent control and dynamics
1) Electron wave packets in Rydberg atoms.
2) Coherent control of molecules.
3) Signatures of classical chaos in atomic spectra.
4) Negative hydrogen ion: Fundamental 3-body problem .

E. Test of fundamental symmetries in atoms and molecules
1) Parity non-conservation in atoms.
2) Experimental determination of the Rydberg constant.
3) Time-reversal tests in atomic physics.
4) Spectroscopy of exotic atoms: positronium, muonium, anti-hydrogen.

F. Atomic clocks and precision measurement

1) Cesium frequency standard and hydrogen maser.
2) Optical frequency standards with alkaline earths.
3) Atom interferometry.

G. Atoms in high-fields
1)Atoms in intense laser fields: multiphoton ionization, tunneling, above threshold ionization.
2) Rydberg atoms in strong magnetic fields (also of interest in quantum-chaos).