The first part pf the course covers the interaction between few-level quantum systems and light. Paradigms are introduced which are necessary to understand today's research in atomic physics such as the optical Bloch equations, the dressed atom picture and the Markovian Master equation. The emphasis is on how to include the coupling to the environment into the quantum mechanical description.
We then use these tools to study a variety of phenomena, in particular resonance fluorescence, superradiance and the coupling of a two-level quantum system with a single mode of the electromagnetic field. Due to its importance for quantum technologies the experimental realization of these cavity quantum electrodynamic effects is a vibrant research field and we review seminal experiments.
The second half of the module introduces some experimental techniques for quantum optics, specifically in optical interferometry and instrumentation. Optical interferometers such as the Michelson and the Fabry-Pérot configurations are presented, reviewing the propagation of the temporal and spatial coherence functions via the Wiener-Khinchin and the Van Cittert-Zernike theorems respectively. The expected photon statistics will be highlighted, such as the characteristic photon bunching behaviour (Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect) of blackbody radiation and the random Poissonian distribution by a coherent laser source. We then approach from the experimental perspective with a brief discussion of common opto-mechanical components and properties (e.g. optical fibres, grating monochromator, Sellmeier equation and its derivative), detectors (e.g. Silicon avalanche photodiodes, breakdown flash, timing jitter), and measurement techniques (e.g.spectroscopy, first-order and second-order correlations).