Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Physics
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Lincoln Turner


Quantum physics is at the core of physics and this unit provides a basis for understanding key quantum concepts, applications and associated phenomena in the realm of atomic, nuclear, condensed matter physics and related technologies.

  1. Quantum Physics: the domain of quantum mechanics; particle and wave description; Schrodinger's equation, energy and momentum as operators, expectation values and stationary states; tunnelling; Heisenberg's uncertainty principle
  2. Atomic and nuclear physics: hydrogenic atoms; multi-electron atoms, binding energy and ionisation; atomic spectroscopy; vector model of the atom; x-rays; nuclear structure, radioactive decay; fission and fusion
  3. Condensed matter physics: structure of solids, x-ray diffraction, the free electron theory; energy bands, conductors, insulators and semiconductors, Fermi level, Fermi-Dirac distribution; the solar cell, light emitting diodes; photodetectors.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explain and apply the key concepts of quantum physics to a variety of quantum systems including particle in a box and hydrogenic systems;

  1. Explain nuclear binding energy and stability;

  1. Predict the most likely decay mode of a nuclide based upon its relative position to the ridge of stability;

  1. Describe the transition from atomic orbitals to energy bands;

  1. Explain the principle of operation and perform simple calculations for a range of contemporary quantum devices;

  1. Acquire, manipulate and interpret physical data;

  1. Write scientific reports at a level suitable for publication.


Examinations (One x 3 hours and One x 2 hours): 50%
Assignments: 16%
Practical work: 34%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the practical component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lecture/problem classes and one 3-hour laboratory class per week