Physics 8.422 Spring 2017


                             Atomic and optical Physics







Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle



Prof. Isaac Chuang




Sergio Cantu



Woo Chang Chung



Junru Li



Jules Stuart



Zackary Vandeiro



Joanna Keseberg





Lectures:     Mondays, Wednesdays (and some Fridays)

                        See calendar for schedule:  Course info and calendar

1:00-2:30, Room 26-142

                        First day of classes: Wed, 2/8

Office hours:         Wolfgang Ketterle:  Wed 2:30-3:30 or by appointment (just send an e-mail ….)

                                    TAs:  announced on problem sets, and by appointment


Homework drop off:  In class, or in 26-237

Term papers due:  5/18


Main topics:

·  Quantum states and dynamics of photons

·  Photon-Atom interactions: basics and semiclassical approximations

·  Photon-Atom interactions: open system dynamics, optical Bloch equations

·  Applications and limits of the optical Bloch equations: dressed atoms, light force, decoherence

·  Cold atoms, quantum states, and quantum dynamics: quantum algorithms and protocols, ion traps,
    magnetic traps, evaporative cooling, Bose-Einstein condensation


Web Site for 2013       2015 (Martin Zwierlein)          Web Site for 8.421

Atomic Physics Wiki with Typed Lecture Notes



MITx site for 8.421 with lecture videos and online problems


For gain  access to the MITx course site, please enter your edx user ID here:



MIT Stellar grade management                            Course requirements

Course info and calendar                            Recommended books




Module 1

Topic 1: Photons and Statistics

Class notes 2013:  Quantum states of light

clicker questions 2/15/2017


Book chapters:

Loudon, chapter 3; Weissbluth, 4.4-4.8

Further reading:

·         Yamamoto and Rempe group papers (example of single photon g(2)(tau) measurement)

·         Yamamoto paper on Generation of number states (see the nice quasi probability plots)

·         Kimble/Mandel 1977 paper: first antibunching of photons

·         Scully paper:  what is a photon, and why the photoelectric effect can be understood semi-classically

·         The Dual Nature of Light as Reflected in the Nobel Archives link



Topic 2: Non-classical light and squeezed states (2/21)

Class notes 2013:  Non-classical light


Book chapters:

Weissbluth, 4.9 .  Section on squeezed states

Further reading:

·         H.J. Kimble, Quantum fluctuations in quantum optics, in Les Houches 1990.  Extensive and advanced treatment of squeezed light.

·         R.W. Henry and S. C. Glotzer, A squeezed-state primer, Am. J. Phys. 56, 318 (1988).  Basic discussion using only elementary quantum mechanics.

·         M.C. Teich and B. E. A. Saleh Squeezed and AntiBunched Light, Physics Today, June 1990.   Popular article on non-classical light.

·         Generation of squeezed states, classical squeezing: F. DiFilippo et al, Classical Amplitude Squeezing for Precision Measurements. PRL, 68, 2859 (1992).

·         Teleportation:  Furusawa et al, Unconditional Quantum Teleportation. Science, 282, 706 (1998) .

·         Beam splitter and homodyne detection:  B.L. Schumaker, “Noise in homodyne detection”, Optics Letters 9, 189 (1984)

·         Experiments with squeezed light

o   Ling-An Wu, H.J. Kimble, J.L. Hall, H. Wu, “Generation of Squeezed States by Parametric Down Conversion”, PRL 57, 2520 (1986)

o   Min Xiao, Ling-An Wu, H.J. Kimble, “Precision Measurement beyond the Shot-Noise Limit”, PRL 59, 279 (1987)

o   E.S. Polzik, J. Carri, H.J. Kimble, “Spectroscopy with Squeezed Light”, PRL 68, 3020 (1992)


Topic 3: Single photons (2/22)

Class notes 2013:  Single photons

·         Phase gates with single photons:  Physics Viewpoint   Rempe group 1    Rempe group 2    Vuletic group

·         Quantum logic with photons:  Review paper

·         Quantum amplifier      Caves    Stenholm     Wiseman


Topic 4: Entangled photons


Topic 5: Interferometry and metrology


Topic 6: g(2) for light and atoms