Physics 721: Atomic Physics:

Cold Atoms and Quantum Information

Fall 2009, Monday & Wednesday 2:30-4:00, Physics 0405

Jacob Taylor (jmtaylor@umd.edu) & Eite Tiesinga (tiesinga@umd.edu)

This class covers fundamental principles and practices in modern atomic physics. We will begin
with atom and light interactions, along with the mathematics and physics tools necessary to
understand few-level atoms and their dynamics. Advanced topics in cold atom physics,
non-linear optics, and quantum information will be pursued in the latter half of the
semester. A good grounding in quantum mechanics, including an understanding of open
quantum systems and second quantization, should be considered a prerequisite for this
course.

Recommended texts

- Quantum Optics Walls & Milburn
- Atom-Photon Interactions Cohen-Tannoudji, Dupont-Roc & Grynberg
- Optical Resonance and Two-Level Atoms Allen & Eberly

Homework and exams

- Bi-weekly problem sets will be assigned on Wednesdays and due two weeks afterwards in class. They comprise 80% of your final grade. You are encouraged to work in groups of 3-4, though you must each turn in your own homework and list your group members’ names.
- Problem set one, due Sept 23: download
- Problem set two, due Oct 7: download
- Problem set six, due Nov 25: download
- Final exam, due Dec 9: download
- There will be a final paper in lieu of an exam. Topics will be chosen just before the Thanksgiving break, and the paper will be due in class on the final day.

Probable course structure

- Atom-light interactions: atomic structure; field quantization; the few-level atom model; applications in quantum communication and non-linear optics
- Quantum information: from atoms to quantum bits; algorithms; quantum codes and fault tolerance
- Cold atoms: laser cooling; atom trapping; collision theory; Bose-Einstein condensation