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Quantum Optics I

Official description


PHY2203 explores atom-photon interactions on a semi-classical treatment. How does a quantum system respond to a classical drive field? We begin by discussing why an atom driven by an optical field reduces to a dipole interaction Hamiltonian. The atom-photon problem can then be mapped onto the problem of a spin one-half electron in a magnetic field, since both are driven two-level quantum systems. We develop the Bloch equations, Rabi oscillations, and magnetic resonance. Returning to the optical regime, damping is necessary, and thus a treatment using density matrices. Dynamics of the density operator are described by the Optical Bloch Equations, with which one can understand a wide range of current experiments in AMO (atomic, molecular, and optical) physics and solid-state physics. These quantum dynamics are contrasted to classical (Lorentz-model) dynamics, such as quantum saturation. In the context of a diagonalized atom-photon Hamiltonian, we discuss inversion, dressed states and light shifts. Applications of this foundational material include electromagnetically induced transparency, slow light, dark states, and laser cooling. Time permitting, we will introduce some basic features of the quantum theory of light, including non-classical states of light, and two-photon interference.


The material presented will assume mastery of quantum mechanics at the advanced undergraduate level -- including time-dependent perturbation theory, density matrices, central potential problems, operator treatment of the simple harmonic oscillator, and additional of angular momenta. Advanced undergraduate electricity and magnetism is also important -- solutions to the wave equation, polarization, and radiation. We will refer to topics in statistical mechanics that include the Bose-Einstein distribution, equipartition, black-body radiation, and the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.

PHY456 and PHY350, or equivalent
                            ['Grynberg, Aspect, and Fabre, “Introduction to Quantum Optics: From the Semi-Classical Approach to Quantized Light” (Cambridge, 2010']
course title
specialized course
time and location
Time: Mondays 9 am - 10 am and Thursdays 9 am - 10 am, Synchronous
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Delivery Methods

In Person

A course is considered In Person if it requires attendance at a specific location and time for some or all course activities.*.

* Subject to adjustments imposed by public health requirements for physical distancing.

Online - Synchronous
A course is considered Online Synchronous if online attendance is expected at a specific time for some or all course activities, and attendance at a specific location is not expected for any activities or exams.
A course is considered Asynchronous if it has no requirement for attendance at a specific time or location for any activities or exams.