Module Lead: Professor Barry Garraway

This module looks at the interaction of atoms with electromagnetic radiation and with the description of structures associated with the exploitation of optical-electromagnetic propagation.

You’ll learn about the relevant atom-light physical processes, including the semi-classical model of light-matter interactions and the quantum model relevant to atom-cavity interactions. You’ll learn how pulses of light can control atoms and the basic principles of detecting photons.

You’ll discuss the general modelling of lasers. This module will give you a broader overview of photonics, and you’ll develop the necessary skills to be able to analyse optical propagation in structures. You’ll study the physical and technological principles of devices required in optical communications, exploring advanced design concepts of cavities and waveguides with an introduction to modal analysis. This module will provide you with an understanding of the working principles of modern optical systems deployed in the quantum infrastructure along with an understanding of advanced design skills.

Atom-light interactions are at the heart of many system implementations in quantum technologies, and the field of photonics has one of the fastest-growing markets. A solid understanding of atom-light interactions and photonics is a highly sought-after skill that professionals in the quantum technology workforce need.

By the end of this module, you’ll be able to:

  • comprehensively understand the techniques required in the application of classical, semi-classical, and quantum concepts to the interaction of atoms and light
  • comprehend light-matter interaction and analyse its role in applications
  • understand optical propagation models
  • demonstrate critical awareness of state-of-the-art advances in the field of photonic technology for optical communications.

Types of assessments may include:

  • a problem set (40%) – solutions to a problem set demonstrating understanding and quantitative skills in the area of atom-light interactions
  • a portfolio (60%) – a written report of up to 1,800 words about a group design of a photonic system.