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Quantum Optics
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 5852-22-11-31
Enrollment deadline: 07/01/2022
PlaceNiels Bohr Institute
Date and timeFebruary 2022 - April 2022
Regular seats20
ECTS credits7.50
Contact personJulie Meier Hansen    E-mail address: juliemh@nbi.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserPeter Lodahl    E-mail address: lodahl@nbi.ku.dk
Written languageEnglish
Teaching languageEnglish
Semester/BlockBlock 3
Block note1 Block
Scheme groupC
Exam formOral examination, 25 min
Exam details5 minutes preparation time
Exam aidsWriten aids allowed
Grading scalePassed / Not passed
Censorship formNo external censorship More internal examiners
Exam re-examinationSame as regular exam
Course workload
Course workload categoryHours


The course introduces quantum optics, i.e. the quantum mechanical aspects of the interaction between light and matter. The photon concept is introduced with the quantization of the free electromagnetic field and the role of boundary conditions is analyzed. Measurement of field correlation properties by photo-detection are discussed, and simple input/output systems are analyzed. Quantum properties of light, such as photon anti-bunching, two-photon interferometry, squeezed, and entangled states of light are discussed. Spontaneous emission is treated by semi-classical perturbation theory and by quantum optical methods forming the basis for a description of cavity quantum electrodynamics. Rabi oscillations for a 2-level emittter driven by a strong laser fields are analyzed and several applications of quantum optics in quantum communication and quantum measurements are discussed.

Learning outcome


The course aims to give a thorough introduction to the quantum mechanical description of the electromagnetic field and the interaction between light and matter. Specifically, after following this course students should be able to
•quantize Maxwell’s equation in free space and identify useful mode functions in different geometries
•analyze different photo-detection methods, like e.g. photon counting, homodyne and heterodyne detection, with emphasis on the measurement of non-classical correlations
•explain and apply quantum mechanical input and output relations to beam splitters and interferometers,
•analyze the interaction between atoms and the electromagnetic filed with wemi-classical and quantum optical methods,
•account for coherent quantum optical phenomena such as Rabi osciallations.
•understand properties and methods of generation of single photon, anti-bunched, squeezed and entangled states of light.

•describe the quantum state of a field in different bases, e.g. coherent state and Fock state basis,
•explain the concept of quantum coherence of light,
•account for coherent quantum optical phenomena such as Rabi osciallations.
•understand properties and methods of generation of single photon, anti-bunched, squeezed and entangled states of light.

This course will provide the students with a competent background for further and more advanced courses within quantum optics and for carrying out a M.Sc. project within the field. The topics covered in the course also have links to the fields of atomic physics, optics, condensed matter physics, and quantum field theory, and the course gives fundamental insight into the background of optical devices like, e.g., lasers.

See Absalon for final course material. The following is an example of expected course litterature.

Selected chapters from "Introductory Quantum Optics", Christopher C. Gerry and Peter L. Knight, Cambridge University Press. Additional material handed out at the lectures.

Target group

This course is offered to MSc and PhD students. For full course description and MSc student sign-up, please go to this link.

PhD students, please see below for information on signing up.

Teaching and learning methods
Lectures and Exercises


Academic Recommended Qualifications:

The course requires prior knowledge of classical electrodynamics and waves together with elementary quantum mechanics. Prior studies in classical optics, laser physics and advanced quantum mechanics are very helpful, but not required.

Sign Up:

PhD students should sign up for the course using the credit student application >> here. Course code to enter is NFYK13006U.

For help with signing up, please contact Julie Meier Hansen.


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