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Atomic and Molecular Physics



We discuss the electronic structure of atoms and molecules, as well as basic concepts of their interaction with light.
The course consists of 3 parts. In the first part on atoms, we build up the shell structure of a n-electron atom, discussing the central-field approximation, the L-S and j-j couplings, and the effect of static magnetic or electric fields on the level structure.
Part 2 on molecules starts from the electronic structure of simple diatomic molecules to discuss rotations and vibrations of more complex molecules.
In part 3, we discuss the interaction of a two-level system with a coherent electromagnetic field, the formalism behind magnetic resonance and coherent optics. We derive the (spin or optical) Bloch equations and discuss some experiments using their solutions under steady-state or time-dependent conditions.

Programme form

Lectures and excercises


Physics of Atoms and Molecules, B. H. Bransden & C.J. Joachain


Year 3
5th semester

Physics Schedule
Astronomy Schedule


The final grade is determined via a quiz (2 hour duration) somewhere during the course and an exam (3 hour duration) at the end of the course. The date of the quiz will be announced at the start of the course via Blackboard. The final grade © will be derived from the result of the quiz (t) and the exam (T) according to the formula: C=T+(10-T)*t/30

(Also have a look at the Exam Schedule).


Quantummechanica 1 and Quantummechanica 2

More info

Contact details lecturer: Prof.dr. M. Orrit (Michel)

More information will be available on Blackboard (which requires a ULCN account).