FY541: Atomic physics

Study Board of Science

Teaching language: English
EKA: N500041112, N500041102
Censorship: Second examiner: None, Second examiner: Internal
Grading: Pass/Fail, 7-point grading scale
Offered in: Odense
Offered in: Autumn
Level: Bachelor

STADS ID (UVA): N500041101
ECTS value: 5

Date of Approval: 01-04-2022

Duration: 1 semester

Version: Approved - active


The course is identical to the previous course titled FY536 (UVA N500020101). This means that if you have previously taken exam attempts in FY536, these attempts will be transferred to this new course.

Entry requirements

The course cannot be followed by students who have passed FY536.

Academic preconditions

Students taking the course are expected to have knowledge of classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and introductory quantum mechanics.

Course introduction

Course introduction. This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics as well as a review of current “hot topics” in this field. At the end of the course the student will have a firm foundation in modern atomic physics as well as knowledge of the state-of-the-art in experimental quantum physics.
The course therefore establishes an important foundation for students who want to continue to study quantum theory at a higher level and/or focus on experimental physics in their master studies.

The course builds on the knowledge acquired in the courses Electromagnetism (FY534), Quantum mechanics I and II (FY544 and FY547) / (old curriculum: Introductory quantum mechanics I and II (FY521 and FY522)), and gives an academic basis for studying the topics of modern quantum science, such as atomic & molecular physics, quantum optics, quantum information science and photonics.

The focus of the course is to:
  • Give the competence to handle complex problems and independently take part in interdisciplinary work and apply the course content to innovative problem solving.
  • Give skills to apply physical principles and mathematical tools to formulate and evaluate physical models.
  • Give knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and their applications to atoms and light.

Expected learning outcome

The learning objectives of the course are that the student demonstrates the ability to:
  • Apply the formalism of quantum mechanics to describe atomic systems and their interaction with electromagnetic fields.
  • Understand the fundamentals of atomic physics as the core principle to explain the periodic system and the formation of matter.
  • Apply the principles of quantum mechanics to quantitatively describe the outcome of different state-of-the-art experiments.
  • Understand the implications of quantum mechanical phenomena in both fundamental science and technological applications.


Subject overview: The following main topics are contained in the course:
  • Atomic structure – atomic physics beyond the hydrogen atom
  • Multi-electron atoms and molecules
  • Atoms in electromagnetic fields
  • Atom-light interaction
  • Ultracold atoms and ions
  • Nano-optics


  • D. J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (3rd edition)
  • Christopher Foot: Atomic Physics

See itslearning for syllabus lists and additional literature references.

Examination regulations

Prerequisites for participating in the exam a)




Active participation in the tutorials




Second examiner: None




Full name and SDU username


Normally, the same as teaching language

Examination aids

To be announced during the course 

ECTS value


Additional information

Completion of 75% of the homework assignments

The prerequisite examination is a prerequisite for participation in exam element a). 

Exam element a)




Type Prerequisite name Prerequisite course
Examination part Prerequisites for participating in the exam a) N500041101, FY541: Atomic physics


Written examination




Second examiner: Internal


7-point grading scale


Student Identification Card


Normally, the same as teaching language

Examination aids

To be announced during the course

ECTS value


Indicative number of lessons

42 hours per semester

Teaching Method

At the faculty of science, teaching is organized after the three-phase model ie. intro, training and study phase.

  • Intro phase: 28 hours (14 weeks with one lecture per week)
  • Skills training phase: 14 hours, hereof: 14 tutorials (one double lesson with tutorials every other week)
Educational form: The intro phase consists of lectures in which the central topics of the course are reviewed. This is done both with general theory and via examples. Even though most of the teaching is based on lectures there is a strong focus on involving the students via questions and discussion.
In the tutorials, it is expected that the students develop their skills via problem solving and discussions with the teacher and among themselves. The students will solve problems at the blackboard based on initial preparation at home and with the help of everybody else.

Activities during the study phase: Problem solving.

Teacher responsible

Name E-mail Department
Christos Tserkezis ct@mci.sdu.dk Mads Clausen Instituttet, SDU NanoOptics
Joel Cox cox@mci.sdu.dk Mads Clausen Instituttet, SDU NanoOptics, Danish Institute for Advanced Study


Administrative Unit

Fysik, kemi og Farmaci

Team at Educational Law & Registration


Recommended course of study

Transition rules

Transitional arrangements describe how a course replaces another course when changes are made to the course of study. 
If a transitional arrangement has been made for a course, it will be stated in the list. 
See transitional arrangements for all courses at the Faculty of Science.