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PYU33P05 Atomic & Nuclear Physics

Hilary Term – 30 lectures/tutorials – 5 credits (TBC, P Eastham)

Part I: Atomic & Molecular Spectroscopy
Part II: Nuclear Structure

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

  • Describe the gross and fine structure of single-electron atoms in light of the semi-classical Bohr and quantum mechanical Schrödinger models
  • Apply the laws of quantum mechanics to multi-electron atoms, taking into account the effects of angular momentum
  • Explain molecular spectra in terms of vibrational, rotational and electronic transitions
  • Describe how the atomic nucleus is structured, reacts and decays
  • Perform analytical calculations associated with the structure of the nucleus
  • Deduce level structures and decay schemes from experimental evidence


Part I: Atomic & Molecular Spectroscopy
One-electron and multi-electron atoms, orbital and spin angular momentum, shell structure, Aufbau principle, electric and magnetic moments, spin-orbit coupling and fine structure, Lamb shift, addition of angular momenta, term symbols, electric dipole and quadrupole and magnetic dipole selection rules, atomic energy levels and spectroscopies in electric and magnetic fields, linewidths, chemical binding in molecules, rotational, vibrational and electronic spectroscopies of molecules, traps, condensates and 'slow light'.

Part II: Nuclear Structure
Strong and electromagnetic forces and the nuclear potential. Conservation laws, including those for parity and symmetry. Nuclear sizes and their measurement. Nuclear electromagnetic moments. Nuclear models, including liquid drop, shell, collective and cluster effects. Gamma decay, internal conversion. Beta decay, the Fermi theory. Nuclear reactions.