Spring 2021 - PHYS 881 G100

Special Topics I (3)

Atomic, Molecular & Optical

Class Number: 2662

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    Location: TBA




  1. Atomic structure: single- and multi-electron atoms, angular momentum, real nuclei
  2. Molecular structure: Hund’s cases, rotation, and vibration
  3. Atoms in fields: electric and magnetic fields; atom-light interactions using classical, semiclassical, and quantum approaches; selection rules; near-resonant atom-light interactions
  4. Applications: selected topics such as forces on atoms and molecules, cooling and trapping techniques, scattering, matter wave interferometry, laser stabilization techniques, atoms in cavities, optical lattices, etc.

Method of delivery: synchronous (recorded)


  • Homework 60%
  • Course project 40%



There is no required textbook. Most graduate quantum mechanics books include atomic and molecular structure. Atom-field interactions and applications can be found in many atomic physics books, such as The Physics of Atoms and Molecules by Bransden and Joachain, Laser Cooling and Trapping by Metcalf and van der Straten; Optical Resonance and Two-Level Atoms by Allen and Eberly; Atomic Physics by Foot; or Atom-Photon Interactions by Cohen-Tannoudji, Dupont-Roc, and Grynberg.

Required technology: internet connection, computer with microphone and camera

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).