Didactic goals of this course include:
- To become familiar with applying quantum mechanics to practical situations in science.
- To obtain theoretical insight in the main properties of elementary light sources: (a) atoms, (b) molecules, and (c) quantum dots and quantum wells.
- To be able to interpret essential optical observations on elementary light sources.
- To be able to select a source that is suited for a particular application.
In this course in Optics and Biophysics, we will discuss the optical properties of three main classes of elementary light sources that are used in wide range of optical and biophysical applications. We will focus on (a) atoms, (b) molecules, and (c) quantum dots and quantum wells, and analyze their emission in terms of spectra and time-resolved rates. We will review the essential quantum mechanics, including static and time-dependent perturbation theory, the variational principle. We intend to also review the complete radiation properties of a classical dipole, including field behavior relevant to near-field effects.|
We will discuss in-depth Fermi’s golden rule for spontaneous emission, and selection rules for optical transitions. We will investigate the optical properties of an atom, including in an external field. We will discuss molecular bonding, and electronic and vibrational transitions in molecules to arrive at fluorescence. After a brief review of the electronic and optical properties of a semiconductor, we will study semiconductor quantum wells. We will discuss semiconductor quantum dots that are also considered as flexible man-made “artificial atoms”, and which have become popular in myriad fields ranging from nanophotonics, lasers, telecom, to photovoltaics and biomedical labeling.