Lecture: Quantum Optics (WS13/14)


Lecturer: Norbert Schuch


Quantum Optics deals with the quantum mechanical description of light and its interaction with matter. This lecture will provide an introduction to the field of quantum optics, covering the basics of the field as well as recent developments such as the controlled manipulation of individual photons and atoms using e.g. cavities or ion traps.

Planned topics include:

  • Quantization of the light field
  • States of the light field: Coherent states, squeezed states, Fock states
  • Non-classical statistics of qu antum mechanical light
  • Interaction of light with matter: The Jaynes-Cummings model
  • Noise in quantum optics, spontaneous emission and absorption
  • Collective effects, superradiance, lasers
  • Manipulation of atoms and light in cavities and ion traps
  • Light forces on atoms, laser cooling, optical lattices


Quantum mechanics ( ideally including basics of second quantization and mixed states), and basics of electrodynamics.


Lecture notes

Lecture 1 (14.10.): Quantization of the electromagnetic field.
Further reading: [GAF], Chapter 4.

Lecture 2 (21.10.): States of the electromagnetic field: Phase space, Fock states, coherent states.

Lecture 3 (28.10.): States of the electromagnetic field: Coherent states, squeezed states. Measurement of light: Photodetectors, beam splitters.
Lecture 4 (4.11.): Measurement of light: Beam splitters, interferometers, homodyne detection.

Lecture 5 (11.11.): Coherence properties of the light field. Interaction of classical light with atoms.
Further reading on coherences: [WM], Chapter 3.

Lecture 6 (25.11.): Interaction of quantized light with atoms: The Jaynes-Cummings model.

Lecture 7 (2.12.): Experimental implementation: Rydberg atoms in microwave cavities.
Further reading: [HR], Chapter 5 (in particular 5.2); Review article by Raimond, Brune, and Haroche; Slides by Haroche.

Lecture 8 (9.12.): Dispersive atom-cavity interaction. Mixed states.
Further reading on mixed states: J. Preskill's lecture notes, Chapter 2.

Lecture 9 (16.12.): POVM measurements, quantum channels, Lindblad master equation. Decay of a two-level atom.
Further reading: J. Preskill's lecture notes, Chapter 3.

Lecture 10 (6.1.): Two-level atom coupled to vacuum. Cavity coupled to thermal environment. Atom-cavity system coupled to environment: The Purcell effect.
Lecture 11 (13.1.): Transitions in multi-level systems: Raman transitions, STIRAP, optical pumping.

Lecture 12 (20.1.): Ion traps: Linear Paul trap, ion-trap coupling and Lamb-Dicke regime, cooling.

Lecture 13 (27.1.): Ion traps: Preparation of vibrational states. Ion trap quantum computing: Multiple ions in a trap, Cirac-Zoller gate.
Exercise sheets

Sheet 1 (due 21.10., discussed on 23.10.)

Sheet 2 (due 28.10., discussed on 30.10.)
Sheet 3 (due 4.11., discussed on 6.11.)
Sheet 4 (due 18.11., discussed on 20.11.)
Sheet 5 (due 25.11., discussed on 27.11.)
Sheet 6 (due 2.12., discussed on 4.12.)
Sheet 7 (due 9.12., discussed on 11.12.)
Sheet 8 (due 16.12., discussed on 18.12.)
Sheet 9 (due 6.1., discussed on 8.1.)
Sheet 10 (due 13.1., discussed on 15.1.)
Sheet 11 (due 20.1., discussed on 22.1.)
Sheet 12 (due 27.1., discussed on 29.1.)
Sheet 13 (due 3.2., discussed on 5.2.)
Literature & online resources
[WM] D.F. Walls, G.J. Milburn: Quantum Optics. (Springer, 2nd edition)
[HR] S. Haroche, J.-M. Raimond: Exploring the Quantum. Atom, Cavities and Photons (Oxford University Press)
[GAF] G. Grynberg, A. Aspect, C. Fabre: Introduction to Quantum Optics (Cambridge University Press)

Lecture notes by M. Lukin, D. Steck and M. Hartmann

Organisatorial issues

The le cture takes place Monday 16:30-18:00 in 26C401, starting 14. Oct. 2013. The tutorial is given by Shabir Barzanjeh, it takes place Wednesday 12:00-12:45 in Room 116 in Modulbau 2, starting 23. Oct. 2013.

Exercise sheets are posted on Tuesday and should be handed in the following Monday.

There is an L2P site for the lecture which will be used for communications (please contact me if you can't sign up in L2P yourself). Lecture notes and exercise sheets will also be posted on this website.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions concerning the lecture.