PHYS 684: Quantum Optics (Fall 2007)

Instructor: Daniel A. Steck
Office: 277 Willamette      Phone: 346-5313      email:
Office hours: MW 1:00-2:00, and by appointment (best to email first)
Course home page:

Schedule: MWF 12:00-1:00, 318 Willamette
Course reference number: 14349
Credits: 4
Prerequisites: none

Links: news, course notes, homework sets and keys, software resources.

Course overview

This course will provide a broad overview of quantum-mechanical interactions between light and matter. We will focus mainly on light-atom interactions and thus we will also do some atomic structure.


I will provide typeset lecture notes for the course. They are available in composite form at this link, but I will also post separate versions for each lecture.

There are many excellent standard texts that you may find useful for this course, some of the classics and good modern works are listed here. Titles with call numbers are available in the science library. You should consider obtaining the Dover titles, since they are cheap.

General Quantum Optics Atom Optics Atomic Physics and Atomic Structure Quantum Electrodynamics Laser Physics


Grades for the course will be based on homework and a take-home final exam. The relative weights will be as follows:

Homework: about 3-4 problem sets will be assigned during the term.

Final exam: the final exam is a take-home exam, and is due by noon on Monday, 3 December. It will be assigned (at least) one week in advance.

Pass/fail grading option: a passing grade requires the equivalent of a C- grade on all the course work (homework and final).


This is a tentative schedule of topics to cover in this course.

Monday Wednesday Friday
24 September
Classical Atom-Field Interactions: Polarizability
26 September
Classical Atom-Field Interactions: Radiation and Damping
28 September
Classical Atom-Field Interactions: Dipole Force
1 October
Classical Atom-Field Interactions: Radiation Pressure
3 October
Two-Level Atom: Classical Field Interaction and RWA
5 October
Two-Level Atom: Rabi Flopping
8 October
Two-Level Atom: Dressed States
10 October
Density Operator
12 October
Two-Level Atom: Bloch Sphere
15 October
Two-Level Atom: Ramsey Fringes and Echoes
17 October
Two-Level Atom: Optical Bloch Equations
19 October
Two-Level Atom: Torrey's Solutions
22 October
Two-Level Atom: Operator Equations of Motion
24 October
Two-Level Atom: Classical Limit
26 October
Two-Level Atom: Rate-Equation Limit
29 October
Classical Coherence
31 October
Two-Level Atom: Scattering and Power Broadening
2 November
Two-Level Atom: Quantum Regression Theorem
5 November
Two-Level Atom: Mollow Triplet
7 November
Second-Order Coherence
9 November
Two-Level Atom: Photon Antibunching
12 November
Two-Level Atom: Absorption Phenomena
14 November
Optical Forces: Perturbative
16 November
Optical Forces: Nonperturbative
19 November
Optical Forces: Fluctuations and Velocity Dependence
21 November
Three-Level Atom: Stimulated Raman Transitions
23 November
No Class: Thanksgiving Break
21 November
Three-Level Atom: VSCPT and EIT
23 November
Three-Level Atom: Raman Cooling
30 November
Review and Evaluation