- Code PHYS3201
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Research School of Physics
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Physics
- Areas of interest Physics, Science, Theoretical Physics, Nuclear Physics
In Sem 2 2022, this course is on campus with remote adjustments only for participants with unavoidable travel restrictions/visa delays.
This advanced third year physics 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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Describe the reasons for the failure of relativistic quantum mechanics, such as the causality problem, and the need for quantum field theory
- Describe 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 oral and written communication skills
- Assignments and online questions (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10]
- Final written exam (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
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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.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Preliminary Reading"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)
It is recommended that students have also completed PHYS3105.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.