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A Student's Guide to Atomic Physics

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This concise and accessible book provides a detailed introduction to the fundamental principles of atomic physics at an undergraduate level. Concepts are explained in an intuitive way and the book assumes only a basic knowledge of quantum mechanics and electromagnetism. With a compact format specifically designed for students, the first part of the book covers the key principles of the subject, including the quantum theory of the hydrogen atom, radiative transitions, the shell model of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling, and the effects of external fields. The second part provides an introduction to the four key applications of atomic physics: lasers, cold atoms, solid-state spectroscopy and astrophysics. This highly pedagogical text includes worked examples and end of chapter problems to allow students to test their knowledge, as well as numerous diagrams of key concepts, making it perfect for undergraduate students looking for a succinct primer on the concepts and applications of atomic physics.

Worked examples and solutions throughout allow practise in calculating experimentally measurable quantities

Physical intuition is highlighted, allowing students to get a clear understanding of the physical processes happening within atoms

Written in clear, simple language this is an accessible and pedagogical resource

Edition Number:
Fox Mark
Release Year:
Mark Fox is a Professor of Physics at the University of Sheffield. He is also a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, and the Institute of Physics. His research focuses on optics and photonics, and he specialises in solid-state atoms and quantum dots. He has authored two highly successful books: Optical Properties of Solids (2nd edition, 2010) and Quantum Optics: An Introduction (2005).


List of symbols
Part I. Fundamental Principles:
1. Preliminary concepts
2. Hydrogen
3. Radiative transitions
4. The shell model and alkali spectra
5. Angular momentum
6. Helium and exchange symmetry
7. Fine structure and nuclear effects
8. External fields: the Zeeman and Stark effects
Part II. Applications of Atomic Physics:
9. Stimulated emission and lasers
10. Cold atoms
11. Atomic physics applied to the solid state
12. Atomic physics in astronomy
Appendix A. The reduced mass
Appendix B. Mathematical solutions for the hydrogen Schrödinger equation
Appendix C. Helium energy integrals
Appendix D. Perturbation theory of the Stark effect
Appendix E. Laser dynamics