Module Information

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

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework assignments  30%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Written Examination  70%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Written Examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

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.

Discuss the application of quantum mechanics to the hydrogen atom and bound states, electron spin.

Evaluate the thermodynamic behaviour of many body quantum systems.

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

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.

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

Classical and Quantum Statistical Mechanics: micro-, canonical, and grand Canonical ensembles, Many Body problems, Bosons (symmetric wavefunction), Fermions (anti-symmetric), 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.

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.
Subject Specific Skills Overview of advanced theoretical physics.


This module is at CQFW Level 6