PHYS3031 Advanced Optics and Nuclear Physics

Students should only enrol into PHYS3050 if they have already completed PHYS3060.
All other students should enrol into PHYS3031 Advanced Optics and Nuclear Physics in 2013

Nuclear Physics

See also Lecture Notes

  • Level 3 Physics course
  • 3UOC
  • Offered every year, Session 2

Course Outline 2011

Brief Syllabus:
Deuteron and structure of nuclear forces; Nucleon-nucleon scattering; Shell model, Saxon-Woods and 3D oscillator potentials; Pairing in nuclei; Isotopes, stability of nuclei; Excited nuclear states and electromagnetic transitions; -decay and weak interaction; Parity nonconservation in nuclei; Classification of elementary particles, leptons, hadrons, and intermediate bosons; Quarks, gluons, color and confinement; Light mesons and baryon, strangeness; Heavy quarks and heavy mesons; Charm, beauty and truth.

Assumed Knowledge
PHYS3010 or PHYS3210 at a credit average or above.

Course Goals
The Nuclear Physics Course consists of two parts
a)Physics of nuclei.
b)Introduction to elementary particle physics
The first part includes the following topics:

  • Deuteron, the simplest composite nucleus. The emphasis is placed on what we can learn about the strong nuclear interaction from properties of the deuteron and from proton and neutron scattering experiments.
  • Nuclear Shell Model. The model allows us to understand and to predict various nuclear properties such as "magic nuclei'', nuclear magnetic moments, etc.
  • Single particle and collective nuclear excitations and electromagnetic transitions.
  • -decay which is a manifestation of the weak interaction. The decay is very important for understanding the stability of isotopes.
  • Parity nonconservation. This effect is due to the weak interaction, and it makes the weak interaction qualitatively different from the strong one.
  • Elements of the theory of nuclear reactions, the emphasis is on neutron reactions.

The second part includes the following topics:

  • Classification of elementary particles, leptons, hadrons, and intermediate bosons.
  • Electroweak and strong interactions, conservation of lepton and baryon numbers.
  • Light quarks, mesons and baryons, strangeness.
  • Gluons, colour and confinement.
  • Heavy quarks and associated quantum numbers (charm, beauty, and truth), heavy mesons.

Why is Nuclear physics important?
The amount of brainpower and money invested in nuclear physics is probably greater than that invested in all other sciences combined. This resulted in a huge body of knowledge and in the development of extremely powerful methods and techniques. These methods are now used in various fields like medicine (X-rays, isotopes, radiation, proton therapy, positron tomography,..), condensed matter studies and biology (neutron scattering, synchrotron radiation), technology (power stations, separation of isotopes), etc. The same is true for theoretical methods developed for nuclear physics, for example the modern condensed matter theory or quantum chemistry are to a very large extent based on methods developed for nuclear physics.

Elementary particle physics is at the forefront of fundamental studies of matter. The concept of the elementary particle depends on time. Once, people believed that atoms are elementary. Now we know that they have structure, but we consider electrons, quarks, neutrinos, etc as elementary objects. Perhaps they also have some internal structure?
So, the concept of an elementary particle means that it is the most fundamental level of matter understood at the moment which is why this is at the forefront of fundamental research. Elementary particle physics is closely related to astrophysics, creation of Universe and the creation of matter in Universe.

How to succeed - Strategies for Learning

  1. Follow the lectures and make sure that you understand all the examples presented in lectures. Do not rely on the textbook only. On the one hand, there is too much material in the textbook and without the lecture guidance it is practically impossible to absorb the material. On the other hand, there are important topics missing from the book.
  2. Do not hesitate to ask questions during lectures. Your questions are the most helpful for you, they are also helpful for other students, and they are helpful for the lecturer because they provide feedback.
  3. Solve all assignment problems. Assignments contribute to your mark. Even more importantly,they contribute to your preparation for examinations.
  4. Do past exams.


  • 2 hour written examination 60%
  • Two assignments 20%
  • Mid session test 20%


Textbook: K. S. Krane, Introductory Nuclear Physics, 1987.

Detailed Syllabus

Topic Chapter
Comparison of typical atomic and nuclear scales
1.4, 3.1
Deuteron, spherical square-well approximation 4.1
Role of Coulomb interaction in nuclei, deformation, fission 13.1
Dependence of strong interaction on spin 4, 4.4
Spin, magnetic moment and parity of deuteron 4.1
Tensor interaction and d-wave admixture in deuteron 4.1
Isospin, Generalized Fermi statistics 11.3
General form of effective nucleon-nucleon interaction 4
Dominance of =0 scattering at low energy
Scattering cross section, scattering amplitude, scattering phases, and scattering length 4.2
Scattering on a potential with shallow level, virtual level 4.2
Shell model, self-consistent field, Saxon-Woods and 3D oscillator potentials
Shells, magic nuclei 5.1
Spin-orbit interaction 5.1
Pairing of nucleons 3.3
Shell model magnetic moments, Schmidt lines
Isotopes, stability of nuclei, -decay, -decay, fission
Neutron stars
Single particle excitations in nuclei
Electromagnetic transitions, E1, M1 and E2 selection rules 10.1-10.5
Lifetimes 6.1, 6.2
Collective vibrations (quadrupole "phonons'') 5.2
Static quadrupole deformation, rotational spectra 5.2
-decay and weak interaction, Fermi theory
9.1, 9.2
Spectrum of -electrons, Kurie plot, neutrino mass 9.2, 9.3
Selection rules, Fermi and Gamow-Teller transitions,
forbidden decays
Electron capture 9
Parity nonconservation, C, P, and T symmmetries,
Nuclear reactions, mechanisms of reactions
Compound nucleus, neutron capture 11.10, 11.12
Meson "theory'' of nuclear interaction 17.1
Classification of elementary particles, leptons, hadrons and intermediate bosons
Interactions of leptons, reactions, conservation of lepton number, neutrino mixing 18
Light quarks, u,d,s; Baryons and mesons, strangeness 18
Isospin vs strangeness diagrams for quarks 18
Quantum numbers of and mesons,
decays of the mesons, gluons
Strange pseudoscalar mesons, quark masses 18
Approximate SU(3) flavour symmetry and
S-T3 diagrams for pseudoscalar and vector mesons

S-T3 diagrams for spin 1/2 and spin 3/2 baryons,
-, ++ and -, the problem with the Pauli exclusion principle
Colour, gluons, Quantum Chromodynamics, difference between flavour and colour
Heavy quarks, charm, beauty, and truth,
Mesons with hidden charm (beauty, truth)
Mesons with open charm (beauty, truth)

Further Information

For more information about PHYS3050 contact:

    last updated 1st February 2011


Advanced Optics


This course develops the foundations of modern optics from a physical basis. The course covers three major themes: far-field diffraction, near-field diffraction and the theory of coherence. All of these themes are treated from the perspective of fourier theory which is also applicable to other areas of wave physics. The course also includes a revision of geometric optics with an emphasis on computer-based methods for ray tracing and design of optical systems. Included in the material are analyses of: fresnel lenses; phase contrast microscopy; holography; optical fibres; telescopes; image enhancement; and fourier filtering. The fundamental material covered in the course has many practical applications including modern optoelectronics, optical communications and image processing.


  • Final Exam 65%
  • Assignments 20%
  • Midsession Test 15%


  • E. Hecht & A. Zajac, "Optics" (Addison-Wesley 1974).


  • R. Guenther, "Modern Optics" (John Wiley July 1994).

Geometrical Optics


Ray tracing

Issued sheets

Fraunhofer Diffraction and Interference

Using Fourier Transform Approach

Optical transforms of one- and two-dimensional

11.1 to 11.2.3

apertures, including regular arrays. The phase

11.3.2 to 11.3.3

problem. Abbe's theory of imaging. Spatial

14.1 to 14.1.3

filtering. Image processing.

+ issued sheets

Fresnel Diffraction

Zones, vibration curves, circular apertures, zone

10.3.1 to 10.3.11

plates, Fresnel integrals, rectangular apertures,

Cornu spiral, obstacles, Babinet's Principle.

Kirchhoff's Scalar Diffraction Theory

10.4+Appendix 2

Optical Coherence

Coherence length and time, spectral distribution.

Chapter 12

Auto- and cross-correlation. Mutual coherence, degree of coherence. Temporal and spatial


coherence. Stellar interferometers and star


Further Information

For more information about PHYS3060 contact:

    last updated 1st February 2011