• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Matthew Sellars
    • Dr Stephen Gibson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

Exciting advances in physics and technology in this century will likely result from the precision measurement and engineering of quantum states. This includes applications such as GPS, atomic clocks and quantum computing. Fundamental to this technology revolution is the science of the interaction of light with atoms, molecules and solids. Using these interactions we can study the detailed structure of these quantum systems.  We can also use these interactions to manipulate the quantum states of both light and matter.  An example of the former is the laser; examples of the latter are laser cooling of atoms, Bose Einstein condensates and quantum computing. 

In this course students will first learn about the classical and quantum nature of laser light, the quantum description of atoms molecules.  We will then learn about the interactions between light and atoms and the techniques to study these effects in the laboratory.  The fundamental models that underpin this active area of research and how to relate these models to current and future technologies will be investigated.  The concepts and theory developed in lectures will be directly enhanced by laboratory experiments. The laboratory is equipped with state of the art lasers, optics and expert instruction from leading practitioners in the field. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand the theory of atomic structure including fine and hyperfine structure

2. Understand the theory of the structure and dynamics of simple molecules.

3. Understand the classical and quantum theories of atom-light interactions.

4. Apply these theories to the solution of topical problems in modern physics.

5. Describe the state of the art in experimental quantum mechanics.

6. Develop advanced laboratory and report writing skills.

Indicative Assessment


• Examinations to benchmark students' understanding of course material via a final examination: the exam will test students grasp of fundamental concepts (LO 1, 2, 3) and their grasp of the applications of fundamental principles (LO 3) (40% in total) 

• Weekly assignments, in conjunction with tutorials, to show students understand the techniques required to solve and understand relevant problems (25% in total; LO 1-4)

• Laboratory reports of a closely supervised advanced course: students are led through the design, construction and understanding of a modern atomic physics experiment, and are required to write a report in LaTeX in the form of a journal article on their findings (35%; LO 1, 4, 5, 6)


      The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


      A total of 26 lectures, 12 hours laboratory work and 10 tutorial hours.

      Requisite and Incompatibility

      To enrol in this course you must have completed PHYS3001 and PHYS2016



      Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

      If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

      Student Contribution Band:
      Unit value:
      6 units

      If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

      Units EFTSL
      6.00 0.12500
      Domestic fee paying students
      Year Fee Description
      1994-2003 $1650
      2014 $2946
      2013 $2946
      2012 $2946
      2011 $2946
      2010 $2916
      2009 $2916
      2008 $2916
      2007 $2520
      2006 $2520
      2005 $2298
      2004 $1926
      International fee paying students
      Year Fee
      1994-2003 $3390
      2014 $3762
      2013 $3756
      2012 $3756
      2011 $3756
      2010 $3750
      2009 $3618
      2008 $3618
      2007 $3618
      2006 $3618
      2005 $3450
      2004 $3450
      Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

      Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

      ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

      The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
      Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

      Second Semester

      Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
      7237 21 Jul 2014 01 Aug 2014 31 Aug 2014 30 Oct 2014 In Person N/A

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