FYS2140 – Quantum physics
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
This course gives an elementary introduction to quantum physics, starting with a historical description of the developments of early last century which made it necessary to use a quantum mechanical description for phenomena such as black-body radiation, the photoelectric effect, and Compton scattering. From this starting-point we then develop a more formal quantum mechanics, and learn how to perform calculations on simple systems using the Schrödinger equation; we introduce Heisenbergs principle of uncertainty, the concept of spin and the Pauli principle. Finally, we look at uses of quantum mechanics to describe phenomena such as tunnelling, the properties of atoms and molecules, as well as some elementary nuclear and particle physics.
After completing this course:
- you will be familiar with the main aspects of the historical development of quantum mechanics and be able to discuss and interpret experiments that reveal the wave properties of matter, as well as how this motivates replacing classical mechanics with a wave equation.
- you will understand the central concepts and principles in quantum mechanics, such as the Schrödinger equation, the wave function and its statistical interpretation, the uncertainty principle, stationary and non-stationary states, time evolution of solutions, as well as the relation between quantum mechanics and linear algebra. This includes an understanding of elementary concepts in statistics, such as expectation values and variance.
- you will be able to solve the Schrödinger equation on your own for simple systems in one to three dimensions, both analytically and by using robust numerical methods. You will be able to use these solutions to calculate their time evolution, associated probabilities, expectation values, and uncertainties, as well as give concise physical interpretations and reasoning underlying the mathematical results.
- you will have mastered the concepts of angular momentum and spin, as well as the rules for quantisation and addition of these. You can account for the phenomena involved in the Zeeman effect and spin-orbit coupling, what is meant by identical particles and quantum statistics, and you are able to perform calculations on systems of identical particles, for example to determine the symmetry properties of the wave function and total spin.
- you can explain the physical properties of elementary particles, nucleons, atoms, molecules and solids based on quantum mechanics.
- you will have developed your ability for independent analytical work in physics through a large mid-term project.
- you will have developed an understanding of why both analytic and numerical solutions are important in quantum mechanics, and have acquired experience in using both types of methods on quantum mechanical problems.
Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.
If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.
Formal prerequisite knowledge
In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:
Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2
And in addition one of these:
- Physics (1+2)
- Chemistry (1+2)
- Biology (1+2)
- Information technology (1+2)
- Geosciences (1+2)
- Technology and theories of research (1+2)
The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).
Recommended previous knowledge
Information about overlapping courses are not complete. Contact the Department about uncertainties.
The first lecture is mandatory. If you are unable to attend, the Department has to be informed in advance (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org), or else you will lose your place in the course.
The course extends over a full semester with 8 hours of teaching per week (4 hours of lectures, 2 hours of group sessions, 2 hours of problem solving). The course includes 12 weekly assignments, of which at least 6 must be submitted and approved. Participation in group sessions throughout the semester (at least 70%) can replace one weekly assignment.
Regulations for mandatory assignments can be found here.
To be eligible for the final exam, a minimum of 6 weekly assignments (minimum two of the sets 1-4, two of the sets 5-8 and two of 9-12) must be approved. By participating in at least 70% of the group sessions, it is sufficient with 5 approved weekly assignments.
An exam in the form of a written home assignment, weighted 20%.
A final written exam (4 hours), weighted 80%.
The students have to pass both the home assignment and the exam in order to pass the course.
Examination support material
- Approved calculator
- Rottman: "Matematisk formelsamling"
- Øgrim and Lian or Angell and Lian: "Fysiske størrelser og enheter"
- One A4 sheets of paper with notes (both sides)
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 is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.