"Particle physics periodic table" showing the fundamental constituents of matter and their force mediators. Image from http://www.nuclear-power.net/nuclear-power/reactor-physics/atomic-nuclear-physics/fundamental-particles/

Development of an all-optical Bose-Einstein condensate: Image from http://www.iams.sinica.edu.tw/project/mschang/galleries/rb-all-optical-bec-1

PHYS 5620: Atomic Physics

As the name implies, this course introduces the topic of atomic physics to graduate students. I anticipate it will be applicable to students in physics (atomic, molecular, and optical physics and condensed matter physics, specifically), astronomy, physical chemistry, and certain branches of engineering. That being said, any student, undergraduate or graduate, who is interested in this material and has the requisite mathematical background is highly encouraged to take this class.

Broadly, we will examine how atoms are categorized, described, and explained, including in the presence of electric and magnetic fields. Interesting and current phenomena, such as atomic collisions, Bose-Einstein condensates, superfluids, and atomic cooling techniques, will be discussed. A short introduction to the Dirac equation (relativistic quantum mechanics) and Fenyman diagrams will also be covered.

More precisely, we will first start by introducing the hydrogen atom, Schrödinger equation with atomic units, structure of the atom, and Rydberg atoms. Continuing with fundamentals, we will move on to spin-orbit and exchange interactions, fine and hyperfine structure, addition of angular momenta, and important atomic models. Next, we will cover how atoms behave in external fields and how they interact with light. Afterwards, we will focus on atomic collisions (broadening mechanisms, Dicke narrowing, spin exchange, and Penning ionization) and cold atoms (Bose-Einstein condensates, cooling techniques, superfluidity, and superconductivity). Last, we will discuss relativistic quantum mechanics and introduce the Dirac equation.

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