ACM30210 Foundations of Quantum Mechanics

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module introduces Quantum Mechanics in its modern mathematical setting. Several canonical, exactly-solvable models are studied, including the harmonic oscillator, and the Hydrogen atom.

The postulates of Quantum Mechanics, [Mathematical background] Complex vector spaces and scalar products, linear forms and duality, the natural scalar product derived from linear forms, Hilbert spaces, linear operators, commutation relations, expectation values, uncertainty, [Time evolution and the Schrodinger equation] Derivation of the Schrodinger equation for time-independent Hamiltonians, the position and momentum representations, the probability current, the free particle [The Hydrogen atom] Quantization of energy and angular momentum, general treatment of central potentials in terms of spherical harmonics, [Angular momentum] Motivation: angular momentum in the hydrogen atom, as derived from spherical harmonics, angular momentum in the abstract setting, intrinsic angular momentum, addition of angular momenta, Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, [Piecewise constant one-dimensional potentials] Bound and unbound states, wells and barriers, scattering, transmission coefficients, tunneling, [The harmonic oscillator] Creation and annihilation operators, coherent states, [Approximation methods] Time-independent perturbation theory: the non-degenerate case, variational methods for estimating the ground-state energy [Introduction to Quantum Information] Qubits and quantum logic gates

Further topics may include: Spin coherent states, how to build a microwave laser, the Dyson series for time-evolution for time-dependent Hamiltonians, one-dimensional Dirac potentials, time-independent perturbation theory for degenerate eigenstates, the fine structure of Hydrogen, numerical (spectral) methods for solving the Schrodinger equation

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to

1. Perform standard linear-algebra calculations as they relate to the mathematical foundations of Quantum Mechanics;
2. Solve standard problems for systems with finite-dimensional Hilbert spaces, e.g. the two-level system
3. Solve standard one-dimensional models including the Harmonic oscillator;
4. Use of creation and annihilation operators, including the characterisation of coherent states;
5. Compute expectation values for appropriate observables for the Hydrogen atom;
6. Explain the quantum theory of angular momentum and compute expectation values for appropriate observables. These computations will involve both the matrix representation of intrinsic angular momentum, and the spherical-harmonic representation of orbital angular momentum;
7. Add independent angular momenta in the quantum-mechanical fashion;
8. Understand the foundations of quantum logic

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures and problem-based learning 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Students should have followed
ACM30010 Analytical Mechanics
or equivalent.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: 2 hour End of Trimester Exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Take-home assignments and in-class exams Varies over the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Professor Adrian Ottewill Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Manya Sahni Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Manya Sahni Lecturer / Co-Lecturer