Syllabus for Atom and Molecular Physics - Advanced

Atom- och molekylfysik D


  • 10 credits
  • Course code: 1FA558
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Physics A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2009-03-12
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2018-08-30
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 30, 2019
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits with 10 credits in quantum mechanics.
  • Responsible department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Learning outcomes

The course prepares the student for further studies in applied atomic and molecular physics, basic material physics and research in atomic and molecular physics.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • carry out experimental and theoretical studies on atoms and molecules, with focus on the structure and dynamics of atoms and molecules
  • account for models, terminology and working methods used in experimental and theoretical atomic and molecular physics
  • handle relevant experimental equipment and evaluate the results obtained
  • master both experimental and theoretical working methods in atomic and molecular physics for making correct evaluations and judgments


Repetition of quantum mechanical foundations: stationary states; expectation values; electronic states and wave functions

One-electron atoms: energy levels and wave functions; spin-orbit interaction; relativistic and QED-related effects; electronic transitions; electric dipole approximation; quantum numbers and selection rules; angular momenta and coupling schemes; radiation of higher order; radiation-less transitions.

Helium: approximations for the Schrödinger equation; Coulomb- and exchange integrals; ground state and excited states; wave functions and their symmetry; spectra.

Many-electron atoms: theoretical approximation schemes; LS-coupling; fine structures; jj-coupling; configuration mixing; spectra.

Molecular symmetry and motion: Symmetry and symmetry operations; point groups; group theory; representations; analysis of molecular motions.

Molecular quantum mechanics and beyond: H2+-molecule, H2-molecule, bonding, LCAO-MO-approximation; symmetry adapted molecular orbitals; electronic states and electron correlations; rotations and vibrations including symmetry analysis; potential curves; transitions between different states.

Molecular spectra: Rotational- and vibrational resolved spectroscopy; electron spectra ; Franck- Condon principle; interaction with electromagnetic radiation; semi-empirical calculation methods.

Computer-assisted calculations and simulations, such as extended Hückel and ab initio.

Laboratory work: optical spectroscopy, atomic and molecular calculations, research laboratory visit (x-ray generation and photoelectron spectroscopy).


Lectures and tutorial classes, student presentations on selected topics and guest lectures on up-to-date research, compulsory practical laboratory exercises and problems ; teaching will also be given in forms of demonstrations and supervision in particular in the context of the practical laboratory exercises and tutorial classes.


Active participation in class, oral presentation, hand-in exercises. Laboratory experiments. 
If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 30, 2019

  • Karlsson, Leif; et al., Atomic Physics

    Institutionen för fysik och astronomi, 2011


  • Karlsson, Leif; et al., Molecular Physics

    Institutionen för fysik och astronomi, 2011