Modern Atomic Physics: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Modern Atomic Physics

1st Edition

By Vasant Natarajan

CRC Press

440 pages | 91 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781482242034
pub: 2015-04-09
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429076299
pub: 2015-03-25
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Much of our understanding of physics in the last 30-plus years has come from research on atoms, photons, and their interactions. Collecting information previously scattered throughout the literature, Modern Atomic Physics provides students with one unified guide to contemporary developments in the field.

After reviewing metrology and preliminary material, the text explains core areas of atomic physics. Important topics discussed include the spontaneous emission of radiation, stimulated transitions and the properties of gas, the physics and applications of resonance fluorescence, coherence, cooling and trapping of charged and neutral particles, and atomic beam magnetic resonance experiments. Covering standards, a different way of looking at a photon, stimulated radiation, and frequency combs, the appendices avoid jargon and use historical notes and personal anecdotes to make the topics accessible to non-atomic physics students.

Written by a leader in atomic and optical physics, this text gives a state-of-the-art account of atomic physics within a basic quantum mechanical framework. It shows students how atomic physics has played a key role in many other areas of physics.

Table of Contents


Measurement systems

Universal units and fundamental constants

Atomic units


Classical harmonic oscillator

Quantum harmonic oscillator

Coherent states

Squeezed states



Spectroscopic notation

Energy levels of one electron atoms

Interaction with magnetic fields

Atoms in static electric fields—Stark effect

Permanent atomic electric dipole moment (EDM)

Atoms in oscillating electric fields

Strong oscillating fields—Dressed atoms


Isotope effects

Hyperfine structure



Magnetic resonance

Magnetic resonance of quantized spin

Resonance in a two state system

Density matrix

Resonance of a realistic two state system


Interaction of EM radiation with atoms

Selection rules and angular distribution

Transition rates

Spontaneous emission

Order-of-magnitude of spontaneous emission

Saturation intensities


Two photon absorption

Two photon de-excitation processes

Raman processes

Dressed atom for multiphoton processes


Coherence in single atoms

Coherence in localized ensembles

Coherence in extended ensembles

Mixed examples

Coherent control in multilevel atoms

Other effects in coherent control


Low intensity and simple collisions

Relativistic effects in emission and absorption

Lineshape of atoms in a gas

Confined particles

Gaussian beam optics


Alkali atoms

Experimental tools

Doppler-free techniques

Nonlinear magneto-optic rotation—NMOR

Cooling and Trapping

Spontaneous force

Stimulated force

Magnetic trapping and evaporative cooling

Bose-Einstein condensation

Optical tweezers

Ion trapping


A. Standards

B. What is a photon?

C. Einstein as armchair detective: The case of stimulated radiation

D. Frequency comb


Problems appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Author

Vasant Natarajan is a professor in the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. His research focuses on laser cooling and trapping of atoms, quantum optics, optical tweezers, quantum computation in ion traps, and tests of time-reversal symmetry violation in the fundamental laws of physics using laser-cooled atoms. He earned a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Nuclear Physics