EECS 638 (PHYS 542): Quantum Optics

Professor Stephen C. Rand

This course uses density matrix analysis to cover atom-field interactions; quantum theory of radiation including spontaneous emission; optical Bloch equations; laser cooling; theory of resonance fluorescence; dressed atoms and squeezed states; hole-burning; electromagnetically-induced transparency; pump-probe spectroscopy, four-wave mixing and special topics in nonlinear optics.

Rand, S. C. Lectures on Light: Nonlinear and Quantum Optics Using the Density Matrix. Oxford, 2nd edition, 2016.


  • Review of quantum mechanics: problems, solutions, strategies and QM representations for describing optical interactions with atoms.
  • Simple atom-field interactions: perturbation theory, transition rates, the density matrix, Bloch equations, signal fields, line-broadening, and differences between real atoms and model (2,3-level) systems.
  • Coherent optical transients: free induction, nutation, photon echoes.
  • Coherent interactions of fields and atoms: saturation of stationary 2- and 3-level atoms, saturation of moving atoms, 3-level coherence, pump-probe spectroscopy, 4-wave mixing, Feynman diagrams.
  • Quantized Fields and Coherent States: field quantization, spontaneous emission, Weisskopf-Wigner Theory, Glauber states, squeezed states, quantum statistics, quantized reservoir theory, reduced density matrices, resonance fluorescence, dressed atoms.
  • Applications of “dark” states in adiabatic rapid passage, electromag-netically-induced transparency and laser cooling. Mechanical effects of light, optical tweezers, magnetic interactions, Doppler & sub-Doppler laser cooling, cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED).
  • Key aspects of additional topics – time permitting – laser cooling of solids, quantum information processing and induced optical magnetization.