Quantum Physics

Quantum Physics

This is a course on Quantum Mechanics written and delivered by Prof. Graeme Ackland at the University of Edinburgh between 2006 and 2011. All content is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (CC BY 4.0). Feel free to reuse the material as you wish so long as you credit Prof. Ackland.

Lectures and Tutorials

Lecture Notes, Tutorial Sheets and Solutions

If you spot any errors or omissions in the lecture notes and problem sheets let me know and they will be corrected in the online version. Finalised course notes will be available shortly after the lectures: they will be very similar to last year's which are available now.

Ongoing Commentary and Feedback

Here I will make a note of feedback given to individual students, in those cases where it seems relevant to the whole class.

In the problems class, it seemed that tutorial sheet 8 proved rather hard. I have added two additional (easier!) questions online.

Turnout at the Wednesday morning problems class has dropped alarmingly. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO GET FEED BACK ON YOUR WORK. If you don't show up, don't complain about not getting feedback, and don't expect me to take requests for more feedback seriously!

I have no preferred book for the course (some are listed below) - the main one I use is "Introduction to the Quantum Theory" by Park.

You should attempt the tutorial problems in advance of the problems class. Solutions are made readable after the tutorial to help you avoid the temptation of looking at them before trying the problems yourself. You probably can get a copy from last year's class or the google cache, but doing so is more likely to hinder your learning than help.

This course has a rather different style for Junior Honour Quantum Mechanics.

LECTURES: Will cover the foundations and proofs of various practical techniques for doing quantum mechanics, illustrated with examples drawn for various physics problems..

TUTORIALS: Will give you the chance to train your skills by practice on a series of problems

Both lectures and tutorials will illustrate the formal Quantum and the practical application by relating it to physical systems you will have encountered in other courses. REMEMBER: The Wednesday morning problem class is your chance to get feedback on your work for Prof Ackland and the two demonstrators I'm going to work on the assumption that anyone who doesn't come is able to do the problems without needing assistance or feedback.

If you don't think I should work on that assumption, then come to the problem session.

This is my fifth year of teaching the course: I also taught its predecessor from 1995-2000.

That perpetual motion machine

At the last lecture, I was asked whether you could create energy by...

1/ pumping a system with photons just below its resonant frequency, within the natural linewidth.

2/ thereby exciting the system

3/ collecting the radiation when it decays, at slightly higher frequency.

Assume that recoil and thermal broadening can be neglected - that's just engineering after all! Well, obviously you can't, but I can't see why. A small prize available for anyone who can figure it out.

Student Feedback from previous years

( Is online here )

Quantum Physics 2011-12

Lecture Notes


There's a bit more maths in some of these than you might get in an exam. Maple will help if you're stuck

Solutions to Exercises

These will become available after the tutorial

Examination Papers

The examination is at the end of SECOND semester, except for single-semester visiting students who have a bespoke paper at the end of the first semester.

Previous Examination Papers can be found via the central University Library site. This requires an Edinburgh University login. Although there will always be some rote-learnable sections, the examination questions will probe whether you understand what you've been taught, not simply whether you can remember it. The purpose of this course is to teach you some physics, not to help you pass the examination. If you are interested in passing the examination, it is a good idea to practice with some past papers. There will be additional timetables sessions prior to the examination period in which you can ask for feedback on your attempts at previous examination papers. Remember that while a tutorial problem gives you practice at testing you own understanding, an examination answer also requires you to communicate that information to another human being who marks the paper. A very instructive way to check this is to attempt a paper under exam conditions and then get a friend to mark it

Recommended texts:

(1) F Mandl, 'Quantum Mechanics'' Wiley;
(2) D J Griffiths, 'Introduction to Quantum Mechanics', Prentice Hall;
(3) B H Bransden C J Joachain, 'Quantum Mechanics', Prentice Hall;
(4) R Liboff, Introductory Quantum Mechanics, Addison Wesley.
(5) D Park Introduction to the Quantum Theory, McGraw Hill

   Last updated on September 16th 2011