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Course Outlines

These are the proposed new undergraduate courses to be offered by the School of Physics. Second year courses will be offered for the first time in 2016, and third year courses will be offered for the first time in 2017.

Semester 1, 2016

 
PHYS2111 Quantum Physics
 
Contact hours: 5 (3 hours lectures & 1 hour tutorial weekly, 12 hours laboratory throughout the semester)
 
Prerequisites: (PHYS1221 or PHYS1231 or PHYS1241) and (MATH1231 or MATH1241)
Excluded: PHYS2110
 
Quantum mechanics is cornerstone of modern physics, and deals with physical phenomena on microscopic scales.  This  first  course  in  quantum  mechanics will  provide students  with  a  broad  and  comprehensive  introduction  and a foundation  for further study.  Topics to be covered include: Fundamental Constants. Interference. Particle-wave duality. Double-slit experiment. De Broglie relation. Schroedinger Equation. Principle of superposition. Probability and probability current. Copenhagen interpretation. Searches for violation of Quantum Mechanics. Stationary states. Time-independent Schrodinger Equation. Infinite square well. Spectrum and localization. 1D scattering problem. Scattering from finite square well. Notion of deep and shallow level. Bound states in a finite square well. Dirac delta-function. Double well potential with delta functions: Two-level system, Ammonia maser. Harmonic oscillator. General mathematical structure of Quantum Mechanics and formalism. Commutators. Relation to Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Time-dependent Schroedinger Equation. Time dependence of expectation value. Ehrenfest theorem. Semiclassical approximation. Bohr-Sommerfeld quantization.
 
 
PHYS2113 Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity
 
Contact hours: 5 (3 hours lectures & 1 hour tutorial weekly, 12 hours laboratory throughout the semester)
 
Prerequisites: (PHYS1221 or PHYS1231 or PHYS1241) and (MATH1231 or MATH1241)
Excluded: PHYS2120
 
Classical mechanics is the study of the motion of objects obeying Newtonís laws of motion, while Einsteinís special theory of relativity revises the Galilean  notion  of  relativity  between  inertial  frames.    This  course  aims  to introduce  students  to  the  elegant  Lagrangian  and Hamiltonian  formulations  of Newtonian  mechanics,  and  the  fundaments  of  special  relativity  and  the associated  4-formalism.    Students  will  receive  a  strong  grounding  in  these methods,  paving  the  way  for  advanced  topics  in  electrodynamics,  quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics.  Topics to be covered include: Damped and forced harmonic oscillations and resonance phenomena. Central force problems and celestial orbits. Inertia tensor and rotational dynamics. Variational principles. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics. Noetherís theorem, symmetry and conservation laws. Coupled oscillators, normal modes, continuous systems and fields. Many-particle systems. Foundations of special relativity.  4-formalism. Lorentz transformation. Spacetime diagrams. Relativistic kinematics and dynamics. Relativistic Doppler effect.
 

Semester 2, 2016

 
PHYS2114 Electromagnetism
 
Contact hours: 5 (3 hours lectures & 1 hour tutorial weekly, 12 hours laboratory throughout the semester)
 
Prerequisites: (PHYS1221 or PHYS1231 or PHYS1241) and (MATH2069 or MATH2011 or MATH2111)
Excluded: PHYS2210
 
Electromagnetism is important from both fundamental and applied viewpoints.  This course aims to provide students with an introduction to the principles and behaviours of electric and magnetic systems, and the unified subject of electromagnetism in terms of Maxwellís four equations.  Building on electromagnetic theory, we will analyse a number problems that are of importance in optical and radiofrequency engineering.  Topics to be covered include: Electric field and force due to a static electric charge distribution.  Electric potential.  Work and energy. Laplaceís equation and solution methods. Electric polarisation.  Linear dielectrics.  Lorentz force. Magnetic fields due to a steady current distribution. Magnetic vector potential. Magnetization. Linear media.  Time-dependent fields. Faradayís law.  Inductance. Maxwellís equations.  Electromagnetic waves in vacuum.  Electromagnetic waves in linear dielectric media.Fresnel reflection at dielectric and metallic interfaces. Electromagnetic waveguide modes. Thin film optics. Polarization states.
 

Semester 1, 2017

 
PHYS3111 Quantum Mechanics
 
Contact hours: 5 (3 hours lectures & 1 hour tutorial weekly, 12 hours laboratory throughout the semester)
 
Prerequisites: (MATH2069 or MATH2521 or MATH2621) and (PHYS2111 or PHYS2110)
Excluded: PHYS3011
 
Quantum mechanics is a cornerstone of modern physics, and deals with physical phenomena on microscopic scales.  This is a highest undergraduate course in quantum mechanics, and will  provide  students with a broad  and  comprehensive  introduction and a foundation for further study.  Topics to be covered include: Quantum mechanics in three dimensions. Angular momentum. Hydrogen atom. Landau levels. Spin. Identical particles and spin-statistic relation.  Clebsch-Gordan Coefficients.  Time-independent perturbation theory and applications: Particle dynamics in 1D weak sinusoidal potential, band structure, Bloch theorem, Brillouin zone, quasimomentum, metals and band insulators. Time-dependent perturbation theory. Fermi Golden rule. Adiabatic evolution and Berry phase.  Particle wave analysis in scattering theory.  Born approximation Dispersion relation for scattering amplitude.  Low energy and resonance scattering.
 
 
PHYS3112 Experimental and Computational Physics
 
Contact hours: 6 (2 hours lectures & 4 hour laboratory weekly)
 
Prerequisites: (PHYS2111 or PHYS2113 or PHYS2114 or PHYS2110) and (MATH2089 or (MATH2301 and (MATH2801 or MATH2901)))
 
This course will provide the skills and knowledge required to investigate, both experimentally and computationally, a wide range of physical phenomena. The course consists of both lecture and laboratory classes, covering topics such as statistical analysis of data, sampling and information theory, numerical solutions of ordinary differential equations, Fourier transform theory and discrete Fourier transform, spectroscopy, handling and numerical modelling of noise and stochastic processes, inverse problems, experimental control, nonlinear systems, and quantum measurements.
 
 
PHYS3113 Thermal Physics and Statistical Mechanics
 
Contact hours: 6 (4 hours lectures & 1 hour tutorial weekly, 12 hours laboratory throughout the semester)
 
Prerequisites:  PHYS2111 or PHYS2110
 
Excluded: PHYS2210 and PHYS3021
 
Thermal physics and statistical mechanics is concerned with the study of macroscopic and mesoscopic systems.  Both aim to understand the properties of systems and processes that occur in such systems. Statistical mechanics links mesoscopic and macroscopic properties of systems of matter and radiation with the fundamental microscopic physics (classical and quantum mechanics).  It puts the concepts of thermodynamics on a firm foundation of  mechanics.  Its importance in the development of modern physics, from  the  understanding  of stars to the smallest transistor, cannot be overestimated.  Topics to be covered include: Classical thermodynamics. Kinetic theory of gases, ideal gas, van der Waals gas. First law of thermodynamics.  Heat engines, Carnot cycle, Carnotís theorem.  Classical entropy, second law of thermodynamics. Third law of thermodynamics. Postulate approach to classical thermodynamics, fundamental 1∞ equation and its consequences. Alternative formulations, thermodynamic potentials, Legendre transforms, Maxwellís relations. Phase transitions stability criteria, Clausius-Clapeyron equation, Gibbs phase rule. Thermodynamic probability, Boltzmann entropy. Boltzmann distribution, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions. Partition function. Micro-canonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles. Heat capacity of diatomics, Einstein and Debye models, phonons. Paramagnetism. Blackbody radiation. Bose-Einstein condensation, liquid helium. Fermi energy, free electrons and the Fermi gas.
 

Semester 2, 2017

 
PHYS3114 Electrodynamics
 
Contact hours: 5 (3 hours lectures & 1 hour tutorial weekly, 12 hours laboratory throughout the semester)
 
Prerequisites: (PHYS2114 or PHYS2210) and PHYS2113
 
Excluded: PHYS3011
 
Classical electrodynamics is important from both the fundamental and applied viewpoints.  This course aims to provide students with an introduction to the principles and behaviours of dynamical electric and magnetic systems, and a theoretical foundation in classical field theory.  The course will begin with the application of electromagnetic theory to study optical phenomena, before moving on to more formal topics.  It will finish with an introduction to relativistic electrodynamics and its covariant formulation, paving the way for a quantum field theory of electrodynamics (QED).  Topics to be covered include: Scalar diffraction theory. Image formation and Fourier Optics, Coherence. Electromagnetic fields in dispersive media. Scattering. Maxwellís equations potential formulation. Gauge transformation. Poyntingís theorem, conservation laws. Greenís function solution of static problems. Inhomogeneous wave equation and Greenís function solution. Dipole radiation. Emission of radiation from accelerating and decelerating charges. Relativistic electrodynamics. Covariant formulation.
 
 
PHYS3115 Particle Physics and the Early Universe
 
Contact hours: 4 (4 hours lectures)
 
Prerequisites: (PHYS2111 or PHYS2110) and (PHYS2114 or PHYS2210) and PHYS2113
 
This course aims to provide an introduction to modern elementary particle physics from both an experimental and theoretical viewpoint, and how particle  physics  impacts on the structure and chemical composition of the universe. Topics to be covered include: Basic ideas of the standard model. Interaction and fields. Feynman diagrams. Yukawa theory. Cross section and decay rates. Accelerators and particle detectors. Invariance principle and conservation laws: parity, charge conjugation, time reversal, CPT. Quark model of hadron structure. Concepts of QCD and asymptotic freedom. Concepts of electroweak theory, Higgs mechanism. CP violation. Neutrino oscillations. FLRW universe: thermal history, particle decoupling. Big bang nucleosynthesis. Boltzmann equation in an FLRW universe: WIMP freeze-out, baryogensis, recombination and photon decoupling. Phase transitions. Inflation: scalar field models, Klein-Gordon equation, inflaton fluctuations as seeds for structure formation. Particle physics impact on the cosmic microwave background and structure formation. Particle dark matter models. Dark matter direct and indirect detection. Dark energy and scalar field models.
 
PHYS3116 Astrophysics
 
Contact hours: 4 (4 hours lectures)
 
Prerequisites: (MATH2069 or MATH2011 or MATH2111) and (PHYS2111 or PHYS2110)
Excluded: PHYS2160; PHYS3160
 
The stars form the basic building blocks of our Galaxy, and make up one of the fundamental scales on which structure is found in the Universe.  This course provides an introduction to the physics of stars, galaxies and the universe.  The aim is to give students an introduction to our state of knowledge about these fundamental astronomical objects, what they contain, their physical parameters, how they function and how they evolve. The basic mathematical formalism governing the physics of is presented, though the detailed solution of the equations is not attempted.  Topics to be covered include: Galaxies, their composition. The distance scale. Large-scale structure of the universe. Galaxy evolution. Stellar radiation, spectra classification. Hertzsprung Russell diagrams, determination of stellar masses and radii.  Equations of stellar structure. Energy sources in star: nuclear reaction cycles, energy transport, equations of state, degeneracy, opacity. Properties of main sequence stars: stellar evolution, structure of red giants and white dwarfs. The solar atmosphere.
 
 
PHYS3117 Physics Laboratory
 
Contact hours: 4 (4 hours laboratory)
 
Prerequisites: PHYS3112
 
This course provides students with the opportunity to conduct advanced experimental investigations in a range of areas including: Electronics. Electromagnetism. Laser and spectroscopy. Optics and photonics.  Quantum, atomic & nuclear physics.  Solid state physics and nanotechnology.  Some experiments will be performed in research laboratories, guided by researchers.
 
 
PHYS3118 Solid State Physics
 
Contact hours: 4 (4 hours lectures)
 
Prerequisites (PHYS2111 or PHYS2110) and PHYS3113
Excluded: PHYS3021 and PHYS3310
 
Solid State Physics provides the basis for the most important technological advances of the 20th century.  It also provides a wide range of opportunities to ìseeî the effects of Quantum Physics in action.  Specific topics include: Types of solids, crystal structures, reciprocal lattices, lattice vibrations (phonons), x-ray and neutron diffraction for structural analysis, thermal properties of solids, Blochís theorem and the nearly free electron model, Band structure, non-conventional crystals (e.g., molecular crystals, quasicrystals), semiconductors, doping, p-n junctions and diodes, light emitting diodes and photovoltaics, excitons and electron-photon interactions, electron-defect and hyperfine interactions, electron-phonon interactions, superconductivity, Josephson effect, SQUIDs, dielectrics, ferroelectrics, magnetism and magnetic materials, spin interactions, phase transitions in solids, magnetic devices, exotic ordered materials (e.g., multiferroics), finite solids and surface effects, Schottky barriers, MOSFETs, fabrication of solid state devices, devices in the nanoscale limit.