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Quantum Mechanics: A First Course

Learn about wavefunctions and their probabilistic interpretation, how to solve the Schrödinger equation for a particle moving in one-dimensional potentials, scattering, central potentials, and the hydrogen atom.

Quantum Mechanics: A First Course
This course is archived
Estimated 18 weeks
10–15 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

In this quantum physics course you will learn the basics of quantum mechanics. We begin with de Broglie waves, the wavefunction, and its probability interpretation. We then introduce the Schrodinger equation, inner products, and Hermitian operators. We also study the time-evolution of wave-packets, Ehrenfest’s theorem, and uncertainty relations.

Next we return to the Schrodinger equation, solving it for important classes of one-dimensional potentials. We study the associated energy eigenstates and bound states. The harmonic oscillator is solved using the differential equation as well as algebraically, using creation and annihilation operators. We discuss barrier penetration and the Ramsauer-Townsend effect.

Finally, you will learn the basic concepts of scattering – phase-shifts, time delays, Levinson’s theorem, and resonances – in the simple context of one-dimensional problems. We then turn to the study of angular momentum and the motion of particles in three-dimensional central potentials. We learn about the radial equation and study the case of the hydrogen atom in detail.

This course is based on MIT 8.04: Quantum Mechanics I. At MIT, 8.04 is the first of a three-course sequence in Quantum Mechanics, a cornerstone in the education of physics majors that prepares them for advanced and specialized studies in any field related to quantum physics.

After completing 8.04x, you will be ready to tackle the Mastering Quantum Mechanics course on edX, which will be available in Spring 2021.

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Physics
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prerequisites:

    Mathematics: Calculus and differential equations. Physics: introductory physics at the college level: mechanics, electromagnetism and waves

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The wavefunction and its probability interpretation
  • Time-evolution of wave-packets
  • Ehrenfest’s theorem and uncertainty relations
  • Solutions of the Schrodinger equation for one-dimensional potentials: the square well and the harmonic oscillator
  • Barrier penetration and the Ramsauer-Townsend effect
  • Basics of quantum scattering in one dimension
  • Phase-shifts, time delay, Levinson’s theorem, and resonances
  • Angular momentum in Quantum Mechanics
  • Three-dimensional central potentials
  • Solution of the hydrogen atom

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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