Syllabus Spring 2018 Physics 55100 General Syllabus




General Syllabus


Physics 55100


Quantum Physics I


Designation: Required


Catalog description:


Introductory material: 2-slit experiment, matter waves and addition of amplitudes – superposition principle; Uncertainty principle, properties of matter waves: Boundary conditions and energy level quantization.  Schrodinger interpretation – wave equation, application to one dimensional problems, barrier penetration, Bloch states in solids and how bands form in solids; The universality of the harmonic potential – Simple harmonic oscillator and applications; One electron atoms, spin, transition rates; Identical particles and quantum statistics; Beyond the Schrodinger equation: Variational methods and the WKB approximation.




Prereq: Math 391, 392; Pre or Coreq. Phys 351, 354.


Textbook and other suggested material:


Eisberg, R. and Resnick, R., Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles, Second Edition, John Wiley and Sons (required).


Griffiths, D. J., Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Second Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall (required).


Course Objectives:


After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:


 Understand the classic experiments leading up to quantum mechanics, including the study of blackbody radiation, the photoelectric effect, the Compton effect, spectroscopic observations, the Davisson-Germer experiment, and the Stern-Gerlach experiment.


 Understand the development of the old quantum theory including the deBroglie hypothesis of matter waves and the Bohr theory of the atom.


 Understand the Heisenberg uncertainty relations through the eyes of the Heisenberg microscope.


 Understand the development and meaning of the Schrodinger equation for the wave function and to relate it to such experiments involving superposition principle such as the Young double-slit experiment.


 Solve the Schrodinger equation for one-dimensional problems including the square well and the harmonic oscillator.


 Solve the Schrodinger equation for one-dimensional problems including step-potential penetration and tunneling through a barrier, 


 Extend the range of applicability of the Schrodinger equation by applying the WKB approximation to both bound state and scattering problems in one dimension.


 To understand the Bloch theory for a one-dimensional solid and to do simple band theory calculations.


 To learn how to apply the variational principle to broaden the class of potentials that may be studied in quantum mechanics.


 To understand the role played by spin and statistics in the application of quantum mechanics to atomic physics.


Topics Covered:

  1.  Thermal radiation and the Planck postulate
  2.  Photons – particlelike properties of radiation
  3.  The deBroglie hypothesis of wavelike properties of particles
  4.  Bohr’s theory of the atom
  5.  The Heisenberg microscope.
  6.  Schrodinger’s theory of quantum mechanics
  7.  The wave function
  8.  The time-independent Schrodinger equation applied to the one-dimensional well.
  9.  The time-independent Schrodinger equation applied to the harmonic oscillator.
  10.  The time-independent Schrodinger equation applied to one-dimension scattering and tunneling problems.
  11.  Electron spin and its role in atomic physics.
  12.  Identical particles and its role in atomic and solid-state physics.
  13.  The variational principle.



Class schedule:


4 LECT HR./WK. (55100, 4 CR.)


Relationship of course to program outcomes:


The outcomes of this course contribute to the following departmental outcome:

  1.  Learn laws of physics and solve problems.



Assessment tools:

  1.  Midterm examination;
  2.  Final examination;
  3.  Homework assignments.
  4.  Class participation.



Person who prepared this description and date of preparation:


J. I. Gersten


Email address:


Date: August 10, 2007