Introductory Quantum Physics (PhD)

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Type of exam

Oral exam


For third year students in biology and for nanoscience (biophysics) graduate students. Prerequisites are courses in calculus based university physics.


1. Introduction to quantum mechanics (La Rocca)

Waves and particles. Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle. Wave function. Schroedinger equation and stationary states. Expectation values. Examples: potential well and harmonic oscillator. Transition probability and selection rules.

2. Atomic physics (La Rocca)

First atomic models and their shortcomings. Hydrogen atom: energy spectrum, angular momentum and eigenfunctions. Electron spin. Pauli exclusion principle. Helium atom, singlet and triplet states. Many-electron atoms, periodic system of  elements. Atomic spectroscopy.

3.Molecular physics (La Rocca)

The ionized hydrogen molecule. The hydrogen molecule. Homonuclear and heteronuclear diatomic molecules. Polyatomic molecules. Molecular vibrations. Molecular Spectroscopy.

4. Complements and practical lessons (Luin)
Review of the physical-mathematical prerequisites for the course.
Selected topics presented as exercises and practical lessons.

Educational aims

Become familiar with the basic concepts of quantum mechanics and learn how to make use of the Schroedinger equation. Use these tools for an elementary microscopic description of the properties of atoms and molecules.

Bibliographical references

Alonso-Finn: “Fundamental university physics, vol. 3: quantum and statistical physics” 

handouts will be provided