- Code PHYS2013
- 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, Engineering
Quantum mechanics (along with General Relativity) is one of the two foundational theories on which modern physics rests. PHYS2013 introduces the basic theoretical concepts and formalism, including the wave mechanics developed by Schroedinger and others and some aspects of the matrix formalism first developed by Heisenberg.
The course starts with an overview of the historical evidence that led to the development of a quantum theory of matter and light. This is followed by an introduction to the key elements of quantum mechanics, including the statistical interpretation of wave functions, the role of operators and their connection with observables, and uncertainty. These concepts are initially introduced and reinforced through relatively simple problems with analytic solutions, but computational solutions are also examined where appropriate.
PHYS2013 provides the foundations for further studies of, for example, atomic and nuclear spectroscopy, elementary particle physics and solid state physics as well as more advanced quantum mechanics. It is thus a core course in that it provides the background needed for several courses offered at third year. There is a small laboratory component (shared with PHYS2020).
Honours Pathway Option
This course is offered as an advanced option. The HPO/ASE for this course is a research assignment in the rapidly evolving area of non-Hermitian physics. You will be working on a familiar quantum system of a particle in an infinite square well but with gain or loss. In addition to analytical work, you will also learn a few numerical techniques in MATLAB to solve the problems. The HPO/ASE will count toward 25% of your mark, the rest of the assessment will be weighted at 75%.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- identify and understand the kinds of experimental results which are incompatible with classical physics and which required the development of a quantum theory of matter and light;
- interpret the wave function and apply operators to it to obtain information about a particle's physical properties such as position, momentum and energy;
- solve the Schroedinger equation to obtain wave functions for some basic, physically important types of potential in one dimension, and estimate the shape of the wavefunction based on the shape of the potential;
- understand the role of uncertainty in quantum physics, and use the commutation relations of operators to determine whether or not two physical properties can be simultaneously measured;
- apply the technique of separation of variables to solve problems in more than one dimension and to understand the role of degeneracy in the occurrence of electron shell structure in atoms;
- relate the matrix formalism to the use of basis states, and solve simple problems in that formalism;
- design, set up and carry out experiments; analyse data recognising and accounting for uncertainties; and compare results with theoretical predictions.
- Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) - weekly (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- Assignments (best 6 of 8) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- Workshop quizzes - weekly (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- Final Exam (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- 2nd year lab program: 2 x experiments, Poster summary and Lab report (25) [LO 7]
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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 1 hour and 1 x 2 hour workshop per week. 12 hours of labs scheduled over the semester.
- Approximately 82 hours of self-directed study which will include listening/viewing the online lectures, preparation for the weekly online lectures, workshops/labs and other assessment tasks.
PHYS2013 (2nd year Quantum Mechanics) now follows the ‘flipped classroom’ model, that is, there are no lectures but instead short videos that convey the course content. After each of these videos there are a serious of multiple choice (MC) questions which are intended to test your understanding of the video content.
In this course you will learn how to perform calculations in quantum mechanics. This is best done in a weekly 2hr ‘workshop’ environment. A typical workshop consists of a problem sheet that is based on concepts of the weekly videos that the whole class works through. Discussion with other students at your table, about the problems, is encouraged, however, the real strength of the workshop is the student’s access to experienced tutors/lecturer (about 15 students per tutor for this course). These tutors will walk round the workshop answering questions about the problems and any other questions the student might have about the course. Towards the end of each workshop, there will be an assessable quiz. Attendance at the weekly workshop is compulsory.
For 1 hour each week I will meet with the class and discuss concepts in QM. Since this is the combination of a lecture and a tute, I call this a Lute. The main reason for this hour is for discussion of the assignment problems (hints not direct answers) as well as other similar problems.
There are also 12 hours of lab over the semester.
To be determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
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
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