Quantum Physics - PHYS5020

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 5 15 (7.5) Jorge Quintanilla Tizon checkmark-circle


Revision of classical descriptions of matter as particles, and electromagnetic radiation as waves.
Some key experiments in the history of quantum mechanics. The concept of wave-particle duality.
The wavefunction. Probability density. The Schrodinger equation. Stationary states.
Solutions of the Schrodinger equation for simple physical systems with constant potentials: Free particles. Particles in a box. Classically allowed and forbidden regions.
Reflection and transmission of particles incident onto a potential barrier. Probability flux. Tunnelling of particles.
The simple harmonic oscillator as a model for atomic vibrations.
Revision of classical descriptions of rotation. Rotation in three dimensions as a model for molecular rotation.
The Coulomb potential as a model for the hydrogen atom. The quantum numbers l, m and n. The wavefunctions of the hydrogen atom.
Physical observables represented by operators. Eigenfunctions and eigenvalues. Expectation values. Time independent perturbation theory.


Contact hours

Contact hours: lectures (30 hours), workshops/revision sessions (3 hours)
Total study time 150 hrs (including private study time).


This not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Coursework 30% including class tests;
Final (written, unseen, length 2 hours) exam 70%.

Indicative reading

Core Text: B. H. Bransden & C. J. Joachain, Quantum Mechanics, 2nd Edition,

  • Recommended Texts: Young H.D. and Freedman R.A., University Physics with Modern Physics
  • Rae A.I.M, Quantum Mechanics
  • Cassels J.M., Basic Quantum Mechanics

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding of physical laws and principles in Quantum Physics, and their application to diverse areas of physics.

  • An ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems in Quantum Physics, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
  • An ability to solve problems in Quantum Physics using appropriate mathematical tools.
  • An ability to use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour in Quantum Physics.
  • An ability to present and interpret information graphically.
  • An ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources as part of managing their own learning.
  • Problem-solving skills, in the context of both problems with well-defined solutions and open-ended problems. Numeracy is subsumed within this area.
  • Analytical skills – associated with the need to pay attention to detail and to develop an ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly.


    1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
    2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
    3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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