Module code: PHY1040

Module provider


Module Leader

LOTAY GJ Dr (Physics)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 4

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 84

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 11

Laboratory Hours: 88

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment LABORATORY DIARIES & POSTER/REPORT 30%

Alternative Assessment

Assessed Laboratory Diary Mark and Report/Poster UoA may be assessed by two laboratory experiments, two diaries and two written reports.

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Module overview

This module identifies the new theories necessary to describe physical processes when we go beyond the normal speeds and sizes experienced in everyday life. A review of new phenomena that led to the development of quantum theory follows naturally into an introduction to the theory of atomic structure. Along the way, the Schrödinger equation is introduced and elementary applications are considered. Several important aspects of the structure and spectroscopy of atoms are considered in detail.

The basis is laid for the study of the properties of matter in more detail at higher levels.

Module aims

provide an understanding of the principles underlying elementary quantum theory and their experimental foundation.

develop quantum principles so that the meaning and the use of the Schrödinger equation can be appreciated.

instill a knowledge of the shell and orbital structure of atoms, and key effects such as fine structure.

provide a broad foundation for further studies of atomic, nuclear and solid state phenomena,

provide an introduction to spectroscopic notation and angular momentum coupling.

via the  laboratory, reinforce concepts from lectures.  The aims of the laboratory are to build on the foundation of previous practical classes when conducting experiments to verify theory and to improve understanding.  Another aim is to develop skills in analysing data.  The importance of keeping a laboratory notebook (diary) and the clear presentation of results will be stressed.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
State the reasons behind energy quantization in atoms and other physical systems K
Describe basic quantum phenomena and atomic structure including fine structure K
Recognize the Schrödinger equation and describe in principle how it is solved K
Describe the basic rules for coupling two angular momenta in quantum mechanics K
Deduce atomic electron configurations and describe them using spectroscopic notation; C
Explain basic results in atomic spectroscopy including selection rules and the atomic hydrogen spectrum; K
Undertake a higher level course that includes learning explicitly how to solve the Schrödinger equation. KC
Perform an experiment of intermediate difficulty, developing practical, analytical and computational skills, by following written instruction.  CP
Obtain data with good accuracy, to evaluate the precision of the results, and to draw conclusions from the data through numerical analysis. C
Keep a comprehensive diary of activity, recording results in a form useful to others, and to complete a report, based on the diary, in the style of a scientific paper. The specific practical skills gained will vary according to the assignment of experiments. P

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Introduction 2 hours The need for quantum theory, outline of course.

Quanta of light 5 hours Electromagnetic waves and light, blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, Compton effect.

Wave-particle duality 3 hours De Broglie hypothesis, Born interpretation, Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Quantum mechanics 6 hours Arguments leading to the Schrödinger equation, solution for a free      particle, wave functions, solution for a particle in a box, implications for energy quantization.

Quantum structure of atoms 8 hours Atomic spectra, Franck-Hertz experiment, spectral lines for      hydrogen, Bohr model, hydrogen atom in quantum mechanics, electron spin (Stern-Gerlach     experiment), Zeeman effect.

Multi-electron atoms 10 hours Pauli exclusion principle, shell structure, low levels of alkali atoms, characteristic x-rays, optical spectra, addition (coupling) of angular momentum, helium spectrum.

Molecules 2 hours

Topics of experiments will include: Fabry-Perot etalon; Millikan’s oil drop; speed of light; thermal radiation; Planck’s constant.

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

equip students with subject knowledge

develop skills in applying subject knowledge to physical situations

develop practical laboratory skills


The learning and teaching methods include:

lecture-based classes with accompanying tutorials as 3h/week for 11 weeks

laboratory classes 20h overall, spread through the semester


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

recall of subject knowledge

ability to apply individual components of subject knowledge to simple problems

ability to synthesise and apply combined areas of subject knowledge to complex problems

competence in undertaking and analysing experimental work


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

A laboratory diary mark (continuous assessment)

A laboratory report mark (end of semester)

a 2h final examination with 5/5 short questions to be answered, and 2/3 longer questions to be answered


Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback will be given in tutorials, and during the laboratory sessions.  Written feedback will be given when marking the lab diary.


Reading list

Reading list for ATOMS AND QUANTA :

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.