PHYSICS 757 : Quantum Optics and Quantum Information


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The nonrelativistic quantum treatment of electromagnetic radiation (light) and its interaction with matter (atoms, quantum dots, superconducting qubits) is presented. Emphasis is placed on what is strictly quantum mechanical about light compared with a description in terms of Maxwell waves, and on the concepts and methods underlying modern advances in quantum measurement theory and quantum technologies, e.g., quantum communication/cryptology and quantum simulation/computation.

Course Overview

This course provides an advanced treatment of the nonrelativistic quantum mechanics of photons and their interaction with matter. Beginning with the quantization of Maxwell's electromagnetic waves, it  moves on to the preparation of quantum mechanical states of the electromagnetic field, their unique properties and thier applications. The course aims to bring students with a firm grounding in the Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics to a level where they are competent to tackle current research papers in quantum optics and quantum information, and the related areas of atomic and condensed matter physics. It is a recommended course for students planning postgraduate research in these fields.

Course Requirements

Restriction: PHYSICS 760

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Outline Dirac quantization of the electromagnetic field (Capability 1)
  2. Discuss the quantum mechanics of the harmonic oscillator as it relates to photons: energy spectrum, number, creation and annihilation operators; provide appropriate derivations. (Capability 1)
  3. Review the properties of quantum states of the electromagnetic field: thermal states, coherent states, squeezed states; provide appropriate derivations. (Capability 1)
  4. Define and use the P, Q, and Wigner representations of the electromagnetic field. (Capability 1 and 3)
  5. Derive and solve the Jaynes-Cummings model of quantized radiation interacting with matter (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Solve problems in quantum damping theory employing master equations, quantum Langevin equations, inputs and outputs, correlation functions and quantum regression. (Capability 1 and 3)
  7. Discuss resonance fluorescence as an example of quantum damping theory: Mollow spectrum, photon antibunching. (Capability 1)
  8. Discuss and review applications of the above in quantum information science. (Capability 1)
  9. Devise an appropriate mathematical strategy to solve a problem set out in physical terms, possibly consulting online resources and/or fellow students. (Capability 3 and 5)
  10. Present written solutions to assigned problems in a thoroughly argued manner, setting out the method used and all essential steps in a logical sequence. (Capability 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 70% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Final Exam

Special Requirements

There are no special requirements for this course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 5 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Lecture notes will be provided as pdfs available on Canvas
Recommended texts for additional reading include:
1. "The Quantum Theory of Light", 3rd edition, R. Loudon (Oxford, 2000)
2. "Optical Coherence and Quantum Optics", L. Mandel and E. Wolf (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995)
3. "Quantum Optics", D. F. Walls and G. J. Milburn, 2nd edition (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2010)
4. "Elements of Quantum Optics", 4th Edition, P. Meystre and M. Sargent III (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2010)
5. "Quantum Optics", M. O. Scully and M. S. Zubairy (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997)

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: Lectures, tutorials, office hours
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 27/04/2021 01:48 p.m.