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Quantum Optics


Admission Requirements

Quantum Mechanics, Bachelor of Physics (Quantummechanica 1 and Quantummechanica 2)


This course provides an introduction to the field of quantum optics and studies the interaction of quantum mechanical light with matter. Throughout the course a strong link is made between theoretical concepts and modern experimental research to illustrate and understand the essential difference between a classical description and a quantum mechanical description.

Basics: Field quantization, quadatures, quantum measurement, operator ordering theorems
States of light: Coherent States of Light, Photon Number states, Phase space distributions (Wigner function), quantum phase operator
Coupled quantum oscillators: Jaynes-Cummings model, Rabi oscillations, optomechanics
Correlation functions: Quantum and classical coherence, Hanbury-Brown and Twiss experiment, single photon sources
Quantum interference: quantum description of beamsplitters as unitary transformations, Hong-Ou-Mandel effect, interferometers, homodyne detection, backaction and noise, quantum erasure
Sources of quantum light: Squeezing operator, squeezed light, parametric downconversion
Cavity QED: Experiments with Rydberg atoms, Purcell effect, Schrödinger cat states
Applications of entanglement: Experiments on teleportation, quantum key distribution and violations of Bell’s inequality.

Course objectives

After the course the student should be able to apply the basic concepts of quantum optics and discuss quantum effects in experiments. The emphasis is on a qualitative understanding of the general principles applied to experimentally relevant situations.


Physics Schedule

Mode of instruction

Lectures, tutorials (exercise classes) and 15 min. student presentations on an experimental research article selected by the lecturer.

Assessment method

Student presentations are graded for each group based on the presentation and questions asked. The grade counts as 1/3 of the final grade.
Written examination, with questions modeled after the exercises from the tutorials. The written exams counts as 2/3 of the final grade.
There is a possibility to retake the exam. The date and format (oral or written examination) of the retake will be decided in consultation.


Blackboard is used to distribute Course information
To have access to Blackboard you need a ULCN-account.Blackboard UL


C. Gerry and P. Knight, Introductory Quantum Optics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK (2005), ISBN 0 521 52735 X (paperback)

Lecture notes and papers distributed via balckboard

Suggested additional reading for a more experimental perspective: M.Fox, Quantum Optics: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK (2001), ISBN 0198566735 (paperback)

s courses at the undergraduate (BSc) level

Contact information:

Lecturer: Dr. M. de Dood (Michiel)