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This advanced undergraduate textbook takes a revolutionary approach to introducing quantum mechanics. The book not only describes quantum theory, but also includes five laboratories that allow students to explore truly modern aspects of quantum mechanics; students will “prove” that light contains photons, observe single-photon interference, and test local realism. Never before integrated into an introductory quantum mechanics text, the laboratories will strengthen students’ conceptual understanding of core topics, providing them with a solid foundation for future study in physics.

Quantum Mechanics begins with a presentation of the classical theory of polarization, followed by a description of the corresponding quantum theory. Analogies between the two theories minimize conceptual difficulties that students typically have when first presented with quantum mechanics. Furthermore, because the laboratories involve studying photons, using photon polarization as a prototypical quantum system allows the laboratory work to be closely integrated with the coursework.

Polarization represents a two-dimensional quantum system, so the introduction to quantum mechanics uses two-dimensional state vectors and operators. This allows students to become comfortable with the mathematics of a relatively simple quantum system before moving on to more complicated systems. After describing polarization, the text goes on to describe spin systems, time evolution, continuous variable systems (harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atom, etc.), and perturbation theory.

Additional chapters feature material frequently absent from undergraduate texts: quantum measurement, entanglement, quantum field theory and quantum information. The book also includes end-of-chapter problems, and a companion website hosts parts lists, instructions and software useful for preparing and executing the laboratories. A solutions manual for end-of-chapter problems is available online to instructors.

 

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