Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Modern Physics
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Example sheets  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written Examination  70%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Outline the basic features of quantum mechanics.
2. Define basic notions from quantum theory and recognise their occurrence and relevance in applied problems.
3. Demonstrate the ability to perform simple computations relevant to introductory quantum theory and solve specific problems from quantum physics formulated in the appropriate theoretical terms.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of special relativity.
5. Produce special relativity parameters in graphical format and in mathematical notation.
6. Solve simple problems in special relativity.

Brief description

Quantum theory is essential to describe the interaction between matter and radiation at the atomic scale. It is however a radical departure from classical physics. This module will introduce the key areas in which classical and quantum mechanics differ, examine the experimental evidence, and develop the core principles of quantum mechanics. Special relativity is another field which departs from the classical approach of Newtonian mechanics. The concepts and basic equations of special relativity are introduced through discussions of key experiments.


Quantum mechanics underpins a significant proportion of theory in physics. This first-year module provides an introduction to the field. The module also provides an introduction to the theory of special relativity. These introductions prepare student for use of both topics in the more advance modules of Part 2.


1. Introduction to Quantum Phenomena: Black body radiation, the Photoelectric effect, Wave-particle duality, the Heisenberg'r Uncertainty Principle.
2. Complex amplitudes and quantum probabilities, the two slit experiment, interference phenomena, Mach-Zenhder interferometers.
3. Indistinguishable particles, Bose and Fermi particles and an introduction to their statistics.
4. Introduction to light-matter interaction and Feynman diagrams.
5. Operation of a laser and examples of the use of the properties of laser light.

1. Introduction of special relativity by key experiments.
2. Lorentz transformation.
3. Minkowski space-time diagrams.
4. Energy-momentum relationship.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Example sheets and exam have a strong algebraic and numerical contribution.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will have feedback through marked example sheets which will improve their learning.
Information Technology Students will use java applets from web to illustrate key ideas.
Problem solving During example sheets which are a series of physics problems.


This module is at CQFW Level 4