Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Particles, Quanta and Fields
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Written  70%
Semester Assessment Four coursework assignments x 7.5% each.  30%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Written  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Critically review the essential concepts of quantum mechanics, such as the wave-function, the wave equation, eigenvalue equations, operators, angular momentum and spin, commutation and uncertainty relations, matrix mechanics, perturbation theory.

2. Discuss the application of quantum mechanics to the hydrogen atom, electron spin, spin-orbit interaction, fine structure, selection rules, optical transitions, and laser spectroscopy.

3. Evaluate the optical and rotational/vibrational spectra of polyatomic molecules.

4. Justify the form of modern particle physics starting with the Lagrangian formalism and the principles of special relativity.

5. Discuss particle cross-sections, collisions and decays in terms of Feynman diagrams.

Brief description

This Year 3, 20-credit module continues the development of Quantum Physics treating standard situations of bound states (hydrogen atom), scattering states, and progressing through to an introduction to Elementary Particle Physics.


Quantum Physics: Time-dependent Schrödinger equation, variational principle, perturbation theory, two-particle systems, Spin & Orbital Angular Momentum, Addition of Angular Momentum.

Atomic Physics: the hydrogen atom, spherical harmonics, fine structure of hydrogen atom, Lamb shift, radiative transitions, introduction to laser spectroscopy, alkali atoms and quantum defect, hyperfine structure, helium atom, exclusion principle, LS and jj coupling in multi-electron atoms, atoms in external fields.

Molecular Physics: Bonding and interatomic forces, Born-Oppenheimer approximation, molecular orbitals, vibrational and rotational modes of a molecule, selection rules in molecular spectroscopy.

Relativistic Kinematics
Lorentz and Poincaré transformations, 4-vectors, Covariance, Energy & momentum conservation, Collisions.

Lagrangian Formulation
Classical, Single Particle, Klein-Gordon equation, Dirac equation, EM fields, the Standard Model
Symmetries – Groups, Noether’s Theorem & Conservation Laws

Quantum Statistics
Many Body problems, Bosons, Fermions, Bose-Einstein condensation

Feynman Diagrams & QED
Introduction to Perturbation Theory, Introduction to Feynman Calculus, The Dirac Equation, The Photon, Diagrammatic Rules for QED

The Forces of Nature.
The 4 forces, QED, QCD, Weak Force, Unification Schemes.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Physics problems are heavily numeracy-dependent.
Improving own Learning and Performance Feedback from example sheets will help students improve learning.
Problem solving Students are required to apply theoretical concepts covered in lectures to specific science problems.


This module is at CQFW Level 6