Atoms – Light – Matter Waves

This lecture will give an introduction into the basic physics of ultra-cold atoms and matter waves. Topics include: Atom-Light interaction, optical Bloch equations, quantum Monte Carlo methods, coupled 2-level systems and adiabatic dressed states, simple cavity QED, laser cooling and trapping, magnetic trapping, ion traps, slow light, precision spectroscopy and atomic clocks, ultra cold collisions, BEC

Course objective: After the course the student should be able to:

i) Analyse and discuss recent scientific work in the field of cold atoms and matter wave optics.
ii) Perform basic calculations on how atoms move in light fields.
iii) Describe and analyze cooling mechanisms available in atomic physics.
iv) Quantify the differences between optics with light and matter waves and describe the particularities with matter wave optics.

Dates: The lecture is scheduled for Winter Semester 2019, more information to come until the start of the semester

Seminars:  After each 2 day lecture block we offer a one afternoon “seminar session” where we discuss specific topics. Short talks by course participants + discussion


“Quantum Theory of Light”, R Loudon

“Laser Cooling and Trapping”, H. Metcalf and P. Van der Straten

“Physics of Atoms and Molecules”, B. Bransden and C. Joachain

“Experimentalphysik III”, W. Demtröder

“Quantum Optics”, M. Scully and M. Zubairy

Articles and lecture notes:

Notes for Lecture 1 (PDF)
Notes for Lecture 2 (PDF)
Notes for Lecture 3 (PDF)
Notes for Lecture 4 (PDF)
Atom – Light Interaction (PDF)

Exam: Short term-paper on a recent scientific publication or problem.

  • Individual topics.
  • 72 hour home exam. All tools except other people are allowed.
  • Write a report (2-3 pages).
  • Short discussion with one of us when handing in the term paper to determine the grade.


Jörg Schmiedmayer   (e-mail:


TISS lecture homepage.