The goal is for students to acquire knowledge of elementary theoretical atomic physics including light-matter interactions, operational knowledge in solving optical Bloch equations (OBEs), mechanical action of the light on atoms, theoretical description of a cold atomic gas (optical molasses, Magneto-Optical Traps, Bose-Einstein condensates).
LEARNING OUTCOMES AT THE LEVEL OF THE PROGRAMME:
Upon completing the degree, students will be able to:
1. KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
1.2 demonstrate a thorough knowledge of advanced methods of theoretical physics including classical mechanics, classical electrodynamics, statistical physics and quantum physics
1.4 describe the state of the art in - at least- one of the presently active physics specialities
2. APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
2.5 perform numerical calculation independently, even when a small personal computer or a large computer is needed, including the development of simple software programs
3. MAKING JUDGEMENTS
3.2 develop a personal sense of responsibility, given the free choice of elective/optional courses
4. COMMUNICATION SKILLS
4.3 develop the written and oral English language communication skills that are essential for pursuing a career in physics
5. LEARNING SKILLS
5.1 search for and use physical and other technical literature, as well as any other sources of information relevant to research work and technical project development (good knowledge of technical English is required)
5.4 participate in projects which require advanced skills in modeling, analysis, numerical calculations and use of technologies
LEARNING OUTCOMES SPECIFIC FOR THE COURSE:
Upon completing the course Selected chapters of theoretical atomic physics students will be able to:
1. solve the behavior of an atom interacting with electromagnetic waves (laser radiation) by employing OBEs (numerically and analytically);
2. calculate the mechanical force arising from ligh on the atoms as a function of atomic velocity, detuning, intensity of radiation, and other relevant parameters;
3. quantitatively describe dipole matrix elements and associate them with Rabi frequencies;
4. provide a detailed description of laser cooling, evaporative cooling, the concepts of optical molasses, Magneto-Optical traps and Bose-Einstein condensates;
5. quantitatively and qualitatively describe a cold atomic cloud with the Fokker-Planck equation;
6. quantitatively and qualitatively describe a ultra-cold atomic cloud with the Gross-Pitaevskii equation.
Course description week by week (15 weeks total):
1. Time-dependent perturbation theory in quantum mechanics; dipole approximation for the laser-atom interaction;
2. Rabi problem, dressed states, Bloch vector, spontaneous decay from an excited state;
3. Density matrix, spontaneous emission, OBEs, saturation intensity;
4. Numerical solution of OBEs for N atomic states and multiple frequency excitation;
5. Force on an atom, standing and moving atom, Doppler cooling;
6. and 7. week: Project assignments for students;
8. Temperature i thermodynamics of laser cooling kinetic theory, random motion;
9. Fokker-Planck equation for cold gases;
10. Magneto-optical trapping;
10. Cooling below the Doppler limit, Sisyphus cooling;
11. Evaporative cooling, Bose-Einsein condensate, Gross-Pitaevskii equation (GPE);
12. Solving the GPE numerically and analytically in some cases;
13.-15. week: Project assignments for students.
REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS:
Students are obliged to continuously perform tasks and project assignments week by week.
GRADING AND ASSESSING THE WORK OF STUDENTS:
Success in completing the project assignments, performing calculations and exploring literature is graded during the semester. Final grade is concluded in the final oral exam.