FYS-KJM4480 - Quantum mechanics for many-particle systems

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course gives an introduction to the quantum mechanics of many-body systems and the computational methods relevant for many-body problems in such diverse areas as atomic, molecular, solid-state and nuclear physics, chemistry and materials science. A theoretical understanding of the behavior of quantum-mechanical many-body systems - that is, systems containing many interacting particles - is a considerable challenge in that no exact solution can be found; instead, reliable methods are needed for approximate but accurate simulations of such systems on modern computers. Besides the intrinsic theoretical interest in such methods, they are of great pratical importance in modern research and industry, in fields such as semi-conductor physics, materials science and pharmaceutics.

The aim of this course is to present some of the most widely used many-body methods, starting with the underlying formalism of second quantization and with emphasis on non-relativistic theory. The topics covered are the Feynman diagram rules, microscopic mean-field theories (Hartree-Fock and Kohn-Sham theories), many-body perturbation theory, large-scale diagonalization methods, coupled-cluster theory, and Green's function approaches. Both fermionic and bosonic systems are discussed. Selected physical systems from various fields such as chemistry, solid-state physics and nuclear physics are studied, depending on the background and interests of the participants.

Learning outcome

The student should be able to apply these methods to selected physical systems as presented. He/she should have a clear understanding of central many-body methods.


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Recommended previous knowledge

A good background in mathematics is needed. Courses like FYS3110 - Quantum mechanics or FYS-MENA3110 - Kvantenanofysikk (discontinued) are recommended.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with FYS-KJM9480 - Quantum mechanics for many-particle systems


The course contains 4 hours of lectures per week. The course also contains 2 hours of group work per week.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Weekly home assignments that together is given 10% weight in the final grading.
Two project assignments that each is given 25% weight in the final grading (50% together).
A final oral exam that is given 40% weight in the final grading of the course.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. If you would prefer to have the exam text in English, you may apply to the course administrators.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course was evaluated in Autumn 2009.

Facts about this course






Every autumn

If the course is offered, a minimum of four students is required for ordinary lectures to take place. If less than four students participate, an exam will be given, but one should not expect ordinary teaching.


Every autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)