Syllabus for Atom and Molecular Physics - Advanced

Atom- och molekylfysik D

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 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: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 31, 2009
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits with 10 credits Quantum physics (Quantum mechanics, Atom physics) or Physical chemistry or similar.
  • Responsible department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course,the student shall have advanced knowledge of modern atomic and molecular physics including quantum mechanical computational techniques in order to

  • master both experimental and theoretical working methods in atomic and molecular physics for making correct evaluations and judgments

  • carry out experimental and theoretical studies on atoms and molecules, with focus on the structure and dynamics of atoms and molecules

  • account for theoretical models, terminology and working methods used in atomic and molecular physics

  • handle relevant experimental equipment and evaluate the experimental results obtained


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

  • Quantum mechanical foundations: stationary states; expectation values; electronic states and wave functions; electronic transitions; electric dipole approximation; quantum numbers and selection rules; angular momenta and coupling schemes; radiation of higher order; radiation-less transitions.

  • One-electron atoms: energy levels and wave functions; spin-orbit interaction; relativistic effects; QED; alkali-halogenides; spectra.

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

  • Many-electron atoms: central field approximation; SCF-method; Thomas-Fermi potential, LS-coupling; fine structures; jj-coupling; intermediate couplings; configuration mixing; spectra.

  • Computer-assisted quantum mechanical calculations and simulations: calculations of orbital energies including potential energy according to the Thomas-Fermi model; Hartree-Fock calculations; Koopman's theorem.

  • Symmetry and symmetry operations; point groups; group theory; LCAO-MO- approximation; symmetry adapted molecular orbitals; electronic states; electron correlations; rotations and vibrations including symmetry analysis; transitions between different states.

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

  • Computer-assisted calculations and simulations (extended Hückel, ab initio).

  • Laboratory work: Photoelectron spectroscopy, optical spectroscopy, X-ray spectroscopy, atomic and molecular calculations.


Lectures and tutorial classes; practical laboratory exercises and compulsory problems set; teaching will also be given in forms of demonstrations and supervision in particular in the context of the practical laboratory exercises and tutorial classes. Participation in the practical laboratory exercises and associated teaching is compulsory. The course will be given in English when necessary.


Written reports on the practical laboratory exercises and numerical calculations as well as solving a given number of problems; oral seminar presentation.

Syllabus Revisions

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 04, 2011

  • Karlsson, Leif; et al., Atomic Physics

    Institutionen för fysik och astronomi, 2011


  • Karlsson, Leif; et al., Molecular Physics

    Institutionen för fysik och astronomi, 2011