This is a graduate seminar course on fundamental physics experiments using the techniques of Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) physics. From the Michelson-Morley experiment in the 19th century to present-day searches for dark energy, AMO measurements have constantly probed the boundaries of the laws of physics.

Using weekly assigned readings, this course will provide a background in precision AMO techniques, and expose students to the details of some well known (and lesser known) classic experiments in the field.

The aim of the course is to critically survey the field of precision AMO physics, and to identify new opportunities for research. Theorists and auditors are welcome!


#2: The first meeting will be on Friday, January 11th in MP 606.

#1: All the course readings will be provided via Quercus. Please register on Quercus to access them.


Instructor email: amar.vutha@utoronto

Meetings: MP 1115 (Tuesday) & MP 606 (Friday). 9.30 am.


A strong graduate level background in classical electromagnetism and quantum mechanics will be assumed. Recommended prerequisites are:
  • PHY 1485 (Laser Physics)
  • PHY 2203 (Quantum Optics I)
Contact the instructor if you are concerned about your background.

Reference books

  • D Budker, DFJ Kimball and D DeMille, Atomic Physics: an exploration through problems and solutions, Oxford (2008).
  • F Riehle, Frequency standards, Wiley (2005).


  • Reports (25% x 4)
    • The grade will be based on 4 reports on topics discussed in the course. Reports should be written in the style of a Physics Today or Physics Viewpoint article, and submitted as PDF files. The limit on each is 4 double-column pages.
    • Reports should provide some interesting new insights, identify specific new avenues for exploration, provide a critical analysis of a current proposal/experiment, or provide a summary of the topic that is accessible to someone new to the field.
    • One of your reports can be collaborative. Equal points will be given to all collaborators for this report. If you turn in more than 4 reports, the best 4 will be used for the final grade.
    • Reports are due no more than 2 weeks after the readings are assigned.