Atomic and Optical Physics: Atom-photon interactions

Learn how use quantum electrodynamics to describe the physics of interactions between atoms and photons.
This course is archived
Estimated 4 weeks
10–12 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule

About this course

Skip About this course

In this physics course, you will be introduced to the QED Hamiltonian (Quantum ElectroDynamics), and learn how to construct diagrams for light-atom interactions. Using your new tools you will study Van der Waals and Casimir interactions, resonant scattering and radiative corrections.

This course is a part of a series of courses to introduce concepts and current frontiers of atomic physics, and to prepare you for cutting-edge research:

At MIT, the content of the five courses makes the second of a two-semester sequence (8.421 and 8.422) for graduate students interested in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. This sequence is required for Ph.D. students doing research in this field.

Completing the series allows you to pursue advanced study and research in cold atoms, as well as in specialized topics in condensed matter physics. In these five courses you will learn about the following topics:

  • Quantum states and dynamics of photons
  • Photon-atom interactions: basics and semiclassical approximations
  • Open system dynamics
  • Optical Bloch equations
  • Applications and limits of the optical Bloch equations
  • Dressed atoms
  • Light force
  • Laser cooling
  • Cold atoms
  • Evaporative cooling
  • Bose-Einstein condensation
  • Quantum algorithms and protocols
  • Ion traps and magnetic traps

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Physics
  • Level: Advanced
  • Prerequisites:
    A two-semester sequence in Quantum Mechanics at the level of MIT 8.05 and 8.06.
  • Language: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The QED Hamiltonian and Light-Atom interaction diagrams
  • Van der Waals and Casimir interactions
  • Resonant scattering
  • Radiative corrections

About the instructors