Physics 138, Spring 2009

Atomic Physics

Physics 138 March 2009

When and where: TuTh 12:30-2P, 385  LeConte Hall

Format: two 1.5-hr class meetings per week (student participation strongly encouraged); discussion on individual basis (by appointment)

Instructor: Professor Dmitry Budker

Office hour: Teusdays, 2-3, or by appointment; in 273 Birge

Course credit will be given on the basis of the homework (50%) and oral presentations (50%). Each student is required to make at least one presentation during the semester; more presentations are encouraged! A brief one-page (professionally formatted and edited) abstract of the presentation should be turned in at the time of presentation. Please include the presenter's name and the date of the presentation in the abstract. The abstract should be composed as if it was for a talk to be presented at the American Physical Society meeting, and should give your colleagues a convincing reason to attend your talk. It should contain important key-words that will help them identify the subject area of your research and the most important result(s) to be presented.

Synopsis and goals of the course:
The course will provide an introduction to and overview of the the vast field of modern atomic physics. It will start with a review of basic properties of atoms (such as, for example, state classification and angular momenta), and the interactions of atoms with light. We will then move on to discussing "hot" topics, such as, for example, laser cooling, Bose-Einstein condensation, atomic parity violation, etc., with a choice of specific topics determined by the mutual interests of the audience and the instructor. Initially, I anticipate that the following themes will be touched upon most extensively:

Tentative course outline:

1. Introduction and Review 6 hours

Hydrogenic Atoms; theory of angular momentum; many-electron systems; Zeeman and Stark effects; fine structure; hyperfine structure; isotope shifts; Lamb shift

2. Emission and Absorption of Radiation 6 hours

E1, M1, E2 Multipoles; spontaneous emission; stimulated emission and absorption; line width

3. Atomic Beams and Magnetic Resonance 3 hours

4. Lasers 6 hours

Basic principles; tunable lasers; non-linear optics

5. Laser Spectroscopy 8 hours

Linear spectroscopy: fluorescence, photo-ionization, absorption; optical pumping; non-linear spectroscopy: 2-photon processes, saturation spectroscopy; linear and non-linear Faraday rotation

6. Laser Cooling and Trapping 7 hours

7. Fundamental Symmetries 8 hours

Parity violation in atoms; search for P- and T- odd effects (electric dipole moments)

8. Student Conference (Final Examination) 5 hours

We might opt to have student presenatations throughout the semester

Recommended core Atomic Physics text: Foot, C.J., ATOMIC PHYSICS, Oxford

Recommended texts (general):

  1. Bransden & Joachain, PHYSICS OF ATOMS AND MOLECULES, 2nd edition, Longman
  2. D. Budker, D. F. Kimball, and D. P. DeMille, Atomic Physics. An Exploration through Problems and Solutions, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2008

Recommended texts (good textbooks on specific subfields):

  1. C. Cohen-Tannoudji, Atoms in Electromagnetic Fields, 2nd ed., World Scientific, 2004.
  2. H. J. Metcalf and P. Straten, Laser Cooling and Trapping, 3rd Ed., Springer-Verlag, New York, 1999

Physics (and not-quite-physics) bed-time reading:

  1. Richard A. Muller, Physics for Future Presidents, W.W. Norton, 2008 (ISBN-13: 978-0393066272); there is also a podcast
  2. Gino Segre, Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of PhysicsPenguin, 2008 (ISBN: 978-0143113737)
  3. Charles H. Townes, How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist, Oxford University Press, 1999 (ISBN: 0195122682)
  4. Seabrook, W. Doctor Wood, Modern Wizard of the Laboratory. New York, Harcourt, Brace and company, 1941 (Physics Library QC16.W6 S4)
  5. Margarita Ryutova-Kemoklidze, The Quantum Generation: Highlights and Tragedies of the Golden Age of Physics, Springer Verlag, 1995 (ISBN: 0387532986)
  6. Segrè, Emilio. A Mind Always in Motion: The Autobiography of Emilio Segre. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1993.
  7. Luis W. Alvarez. Adventures of a Physicist. Here it is on

News flash!

Seminars and Colloquia

Lecture Notes, Viewgraphs, Electronic Tutorials

Assorted Physics-Related Links, Web Resources

Individual research topics and presentations (some are from past years for reference):

  • Derivation of the Lamb shift in hydrogen: talk by Dylan Gorman
  • Light-Induced Atomic Desorption (LIAD): talk by Etsuko Mieda
  • Pyramid magneto-optical trap (MOT): talk by Guilherme A. P. Miranda
  • Bloch oscillations: talk by Alan Wu
  • Bloch oscillations of  cold atoms in optical lattices: talk by Guillermina Ramirez San Juan
  • Natural (astrophysical) masers: talk by James McBride: Abstract
  • Optical Trapping of Neutral Atoms: talk by Brendan Abolins: Abstract
  • Quantum computers and qbit cryptography:  talk by Patrick Lii: Abstract and slides
  • WIMP search by bubble chamber: talk by Ahram Kim: Abstract and slides
  • Experimental searches for axions: talk by Jian-Long Liu: Abstract
  • Positronoim: talk by TzuCheng Chuang
  • Quantum Computing: talk by Paul McGuirk
  • The Helium Atom: talk by Nikki Meshkat
  • The Faraday Effect: talk by Zachary Marshall
  • Geonium: talk by Miriam Graf
  • Self-Induced Transparency: talk by Christine Tsai
  • Spectroscopic analysis of trace molecules in the atmosphere: talk by Nicola Lumley
  • Light-Induced Drift (LID) of atoms
  • Modern Optical Parametric Oscillators as light sources for spectroscopy
  • Superfluorescence
  • The Kapitsa-Dirac effect: talk by Victor Acosta
  • Most recent precision measurements of Lamb shift in hydrogen
  • Bose-Einstein condensation in neutral atomic traps: talk by Brian Krausz
  • Electromagnetically-induced transparency
  • Orthopositronium lifetime measurements: talk by Charles Fang
  • Casimir Effect
  • Resarch with antiatoms
  • Gravitation measurements with atomic interferometers
  • Chaos in atoms
  • Laser spectroscopy of neutral clusters
  • Circular states in atoms
  • The Autler-Townes effect
  • Precision experiments with muonic atoms
  • Measurements of the dc Kerr effect in cryogenic liquids
  • Spin and orbital angular momentum of light beams
  • Femtosecond-Laser Frequency Combs for Optical Metrology
  • The green laser pointer: talk by Mac Herrera
  • Novel artificial "atoms": whispering gallery-mode resonators, microdisks, photonic-bandgap cavities
  • Measurements of magnetic-field direction in plasma using the Stark shift induced by the vxB electric fields
  • Spinor Bose-Einstein condensates (see, e.g., work at MIT and Berkeley)
  • Space Elevators (from atomic-physics point of view): talk by Thomas Rand-Nash
  • Imaging using entangled photons: talk by Timothy Shokair
  • Absorption spectrum of the Earth's atmosphere: talk by Alyssa Atwood
  • Diamagnetic Levitation: talk by Dustin Brumley
  • Make up your own topic !
  • Homework:

    Assignment 1. Due on Thursday, 02/05
    Assignment 2. Due on Thursday, 02/19
    Assignment 3. Due on Thursday, 03/05
    Assignment 4. Due on Thursday, 03/19

    Acknowledgment and Disclaimer: This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).