Course syllabus

Atom- och kärnfysik med tillämpningar
Atomic and Nuclear Physics with Applications

FAFF10, 15 credits, G2 (First Cycle)

Valid for: 2012/13
Decided by: Education Board 1
Date of Decision: 2012-03-22

General Information

Main field: Technology.
Compulsory for: F3
Language of instruction: The course will be given in Swedish


The course is an important part of a larger course package in physics. Based on quantum mechanics, it gives the basis of fundamental atomic and nuclear physics, as well as technical applications, e.g., laser technology and environmental measurement techniques. It gives a broad orientation about microcosm, while at the same time including detailed studies of selected topics. The aim of this is to simultaneously practice quantum mechanical problem solving, and to stimulate the interest for further studies in the subject. By highlighting important technical applications the course aims at illustrating the mutual dependence between technology and basic science.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

be able to describe the structure of atoms and atomic nuclei

be able to perform quantum mechanical calculations on systems with spherical symmetry

be able to describe, and in simple cases quantitatively estimate, the energy structure of an atom, using quantum mechanical methods

be able to describe different types of radiation, and the interaction between radiation and matter

have received insight into how different phenomena in atomic and nuclear physics may in principle have the same quantum mechanical background, but with different orders of magnitude, e.g., energy level structures and emission or absorption of radiation

have received a deepened insight into the close and mutual interaction between technology and natural science, and to be aware of and be able to describe typical technical applications of atomic and nuclear physics.

Competences and skills
For a passing grade the student must

be able to apply quantum mechanical methods for analysis and estimates in physical problems within the area

have developed his/her ability to plan, perform and analyze experiments and to present scientific results in writing

have improved skills in finding scientific information relevant for a report within the scientific area of the course

have improved skills for written and oral presentations.


Quantum mechanical formalism extended from earlier courses in physics. The harmonic oscillator. Spherical symmetry and angular momentum. Hydrogenlike atoms. Approximation methods. Calculations on problems in atomic- and nuclear physics.

Size and mass of atoms. Models for atoms. Electron spin and space quantisation. Atoms in external magnetic fields. Addition of angular momenta, configuration, term, level and sublevel. Many-electron atoms and the central field approximation. The periodic table. Spontaneous emission and selection rules. Stimulated emission and lasers action. Spectroscopic methods.

Size, structure and mass of the atomic nucleus. Nuclear models. Strong and weak interaction. Radioactive decay, emission of alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Nuclear collisions. Fission and fusion. Interaction between radiation and matter. Nuclear measurement instrumentation. Reactor physics, medical applications, ion-beam analysis and astrophysics.

Examination details

Grading scale: TH
Assessment: Written exam, passed laboratory work and corresponding written reports. Passed oral presentation of project.

Code: 0109. Name: Laboratory Work.
Credits: 4,5. Grading scale: UG. Assessment: Approved written laboratory report after each laboratory exercise. Contents: Experimental work as laboratory exercises in small groups. Preparation before and reporting after each exercise is mandatory.
Code: 0209. Name: Project.
Credits: 1,5. Grading scale: UG. Assessment: Oral presentation (20 minutes) in front of audience, describing the project selected. Normally two students present jointly one project. Contents: Deeper studies related to an application within atomic or nuclear physics. Can be either experimental or theoretical studies.
Code: 0309. Name: Theory 1.
Credits: 2,5. Grading scale: TH. Assessment: Written examination.
Code: 0409. Name: Theory 2.
Credits: 6,5. Grading scale: TH. Assessment: Written examination.


Required prior knowledge: FMA021 Applied Mathematics, FAFA10 Quantum Phenomena and Nanotechnology.
The number of participants is limited to: No
The course overlaps following course/s: FAF270, FMFF15

Reading list

Contact and other information

Course coordinator: Claes-Göran Wahlström,
Course homepage:
Further information: The course is given by a team, lead by C-G Wahlström. Lectures and exercises in quantum mechanics, nuclear and atomic physics are sandwiched during the course.