PHYM015 Quantum Optics and Photonics 2020-21
Dr O. Kyriienko
Delivery Weeks: T2:01-11
Level: 7 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 33 students (approx)


This module explores how light may be controlled and guided at the level of few photons. It describes how quantum physics may be harnessed in the future to offer new and exciting opportunities in manipulating light, including quantum computing and communication. This module will range over basic physics, mathematical formulation of quantum theory, and topical applications.

Module Aims

This module aims to develop a detailed understanding of the physics that underpins quantum optics and photonics, and learn the underlying mathematical language. It will explores solutions to problems from topics at the forefront of current optics research, such as the production and manipulation of light in non-classical states.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Syllabus Plan

  1. Quantum Mechanics
    Dirac notation. Quantum evolution. Schrödinger, Heisenberg and interaction pictures. Composite systems and entanglement.
  2. Quantisation of the Electromagnetic Field
    Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves and their relation to harmonic oscillators. Quantum electromagnetic waves. Fock states. Electromagnetic zero-point energy.
  3. Single-Mode Quantum Light
    Field and quadrature operators. Optical microcavities and experimental setups.
  4. Single-Mode Number States
    Uncertainty relations. Signal-to-noise ratio.
  5. Single-Mode Coherent States and Their Relation to Classical Light
    Photon number distribution and non-classical light detection. Electric field uncertainty. Displacement operator.
  6. Thermal Radiation and Fluctuations in Photon Number
    Planck distribution. Statistical classification of optical states.
  7. Single-Photon Interference
    Beam splitters. The Mach-Zehnder interferometer.
  8. Two-Photon Interference and the Hong-Ou-Mandel Effect
  9. Light-Atom Interactions
    Electric-dipole approximation. Perturbation theory. Absorption, stimulated and spontaneous emission. Theory of lasing.
  10. Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics
    Rabi model. Jaynes-Cummings model. Dicke model. Master equation.
  11. Coherence Functions
    First-order coherence. Second-order coherence. Anti-bunching and single photon emission: theory and experiments.
  12. Nonlinear Optics and Non-Classical Light
    Non-linear polarization. Parametric down-conversion. Squeezed states of light. Kerr-type nonlinearity.
  13. Quantum Teleportation
    The no-cloning theorem. Entangled photon pairs and Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen states. Quantum communication protocols. Teleportation.
  14. Introduction to Quantum Computing
    Qubits and quantum platforms. Quantum gates. Superdense coding. Quantum algorithms for computation. Phase kick-back and Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm.

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
20×1-hour lectures 20 hours SLT
2×1-hour problems/revision classes 2 hours SLT
5×6-hour self-study packages 30 hours GIS
4×4-hour problem sets 16 hours GIS
Reading, private study and revision 82 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Guided self-study 5×6-hour packages Fortnightly 1-8 Discussion in class
0% 4 × Problems sets 4 hours per set Fortnightly 1-8 Solutions discussed in problems classes.
100% Final Examination 2 hours 30 minutes May 1-8 Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions.


The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

Supplementary texts:


Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules Waves and Optics (PHY1023), Quantum Mechanics I (PHY2022) and Electromagnetism II (PHY3051)
Co-requisite Modules none


Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment
Whole module Written examination (100%) 1-8 August/September assessment period

Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 22 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 128 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 0%
Written exams 100%
Practical exams 0%
Total 100%


IoP Accreditation Checklist
  • N/A this is an optional module
Availability unrestricted
Distance learning NO
Keywords physics; quantum optics; photonics; optics; Maxwell's equations; electodynamics; quantum mechanics.
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised 08-Aug-20