PHY 202: Atomic and Molecular Physics

3 credits | Prerequisites: PHY 103, 201

Course rationale

This is one of the courses offered by the university, which fulfills the requirement of Natural Sciences for
graduation from the university. It gives a broad knowledge of the most important characteristics of atoms,
molecules, and their interaction with electric and magnetic fields.

Course content

Electron Nuclear interactions (one-electron atom): Hydrogen atom review, Degeneracy Spin-orbit coupling and fine structure, Hyperfine interactions, Spectral consequences of fine structure; Electron- Electron interactions (two-electron atom): Indistinguishability of particles, Coupled angular momentum, Pauli Exclusion Principle, Exchange interaction, Helium energy levels, Coulomb/exchange integrals, Degeneracy; Atom – Field Interactions: Dipole transitions, Normal and Anomalous Zeeman Effect, Spectral consequences of applied fields, Stark Effect; Atom – atom Interactions: degrees of freedom: rotations and vibrations, Molecular electronic spectra, Experimental probes Raman and infrared spectroscopy, Selection rules; Current AMO Topics, (laser cooling, quantum computing, etc.)

Course objectives

Learn the atomic structure of one and two-electron atoms. Explain the change in behavior of atoms in an externally applied electric and magnetic field. Explain the rotational, vibrational, electronic, and Raman spectra of molecules. Describe electron spin and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and their applications.


  1. Foot, Christopher J., Atomic Physics. Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN:9780198506966.
  2. Inguscio, Massimo, and Fallani, Leonardo. Atomic Physics: Precise Measurements and Ultracold Matter. Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780198525844