• 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 Stephen Gibson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    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)


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      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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
      2017 $3444
      International fee paying students
      Year Fee
      2017 $4590
      Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

      Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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      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
      7574 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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