- Code PHYS6201
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Physics Education Centre
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Physics
- Areas of interest Physics, Science, Theoretical Physics, Nuclear Physics
All activities that form part of this course will be delivered remotely in Sem 2 2020.
This course provides an introduction to the concepts and tools of quantum field theory (QFT) and to its applications in various fields, such as particle physics and condensed matter. QFT is arguably the most far-reaching attempt to combine special relativity and quantum physics in a unique framework. This course builds on the content of previous courses on Classical and Quantum Mechanics, Electromagnetism, and Statistical Physics, providing an elegant synthesis of these key areas of modern Physics. We explain in this course the origin of particles (why are all electrons identical?), forces (why same charge repel while gravitation is attractive?) and antiparticles. The Feynman path integral formalism is used, leading to Klein-Gordon, Maxwell and Dirac equations. Feynman diagrams to describe interacting fields are also introduced. The concepts of Gauge Invariance, spontaneous symmetry breaking, as well as the Goldstone and Higgs mechanisms are introduced in a general context, and applied, e.g., to describe superfluidity, superconductivity and ferromagnetism.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Discuss the reasons for the failure of relativistic quantum mechanics, such as the causality problem, and the need for quantum field theory
- Discuss the origin of particles and forces
- Analyse the statistical distributions of identical particles and the repulsive/attractive nature of the forces as a function of spins
- Apply Feynman rules to calculate probabilities for basic processes with particles (decay and scattering)
- Obtain classical and/or non-relativistic limits of fully quantum and relativistic models, and identify the relativistic origin of effects such as the spin-orbit interaction
- Use effective field theory techniques to develop models at large scales
- Describe qualitatively effects such as superconductivity, superfluidity, and ferromagnetism using the concepts of gauge invariance, Goldstone and Higgs mechanism, and spontaneous symmetry breaking.
- Apply mathematical tools such as complex analysis, Gaussian path integration, and Fourier analysis in the context of physical systems.
- Develop computational skills by solving numerically simple problems such as pionless effective field theory and the Ising model.
- Develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities with application to a diverse range of practical problems in quantum field theory.
- Demonstrate high level oral and written communication skills
- Assignments (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11]
- Final written exam (45) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10]
- Research topic oral presentation (15) [LO 10,11]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:
- Face-to face component which will consist of 1 x 3 hour workshop per week.
- Approximately 94 hours of self-study which will include listening/viewing the online lectures, preparation for the weekly online lectures, workshops/labs and other assessment tasks.
This is a flipped class.
To be determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
"Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell", by A. Zee (2nd ed., 2010)
"Quantum Field Theory for the Gifted Amateur", by T. Lancaster and S. Blundell (2015)
24 units of university level mathematics for physicists and engineers. 24 units of university advanced level physics.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.