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edX: Atomic and Optical Physics: Light Forces and Laser Cooling

 with  Wolfgang Ketterle, David E. Pritchard and Isaac Chuang

In this physics course, you will learn about the spontaneous and stimulated light force and friction force in molasses and optical standing waves. You will also study light forces in the dressed atom picture. The course will discuss the techniques of magneto-optical traps and sub-Doppler and sub-recoil cooling.

This course is a part of a series of courses to introduce concepts and current frontiers of atomic physics, and to prepare you for cutting-edge research:

At MIT, the content of the five courses makes the second of a two-semester sequence (8.421 and 8.422) for graduate students interested in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. This sequence is required for Ph.D. students doing research in this field.

Completing the series allows you to pursue advanced study and research in cold atoms, as well as specialized topics in condensed matter physics. In these five courses you will learn about the following topics:

  • quantum states and dynamics of photons
  • photon-atom interactions: basics and semiclassical approximations
  • open system dynamics
  • optical Bloch equations
  • applications and limits of the optical Bloch equations
  • dressed atoms
  • light force
  • laser cooling
  • cold atoms
  • evaporative cooling
  • Bose-Einstein condensation
  • quantum algorithms and protocols
  • ion traps and magnetic traps
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Cost Free Online Course
Pace Self Paced
Subject Physics
Provider edX
Language English
Hours 10-12 hours a week
Calendar 4 weeks long
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FAQ View All
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

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