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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Course syllabus for

Academic year
MCC185 - From quantum optics to quantum technologies  
Från kvantoptik till kvantteknologier
Course syllabus adopted 2022-02-02 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPNAT
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Main field of study: Engineering Physics

Course round 1

Teaching language: English
Application code: 18127
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: C

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0122 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   25 Oct 2022 am J,  Contact examiner,  Contact examiner

In programs

MPPHS PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)
MPNAT NANOTECHNOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Simone Gasparinetti

  Go to Course Homepage


General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

FUF040 Quantum Physics or equivalent is required. The following courses are recommended: TIF101 Applied Quantum Physics, TIF305 Statistical Physics, TIF290 Quantum Mechanics, and FMI036 Superconductivity and Low Temperature Physics


The course introduces how one can describe, manipulate, and detect quantum mechanical systems such as single atoms and photons, and how advances in the control and measurement of these systems are driving the so-called “second quantum revolution” through the four pillars of quantum technologies: quantum computation, quantum simulation, quantum communication, and quantum sensing. This revolution is being pushed forward by large research initiatives worldwide, such as the Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT) in Sweden, of which Chalmers is the main node, the EU Quantum Flagship in Europe , and many more. The course gives an overview on this very active field of research and connects – via lectures, exercise sessions, and a laboratory session in a state-of-the-art facility – to ongoing research on quantum mechanical superconducting circuits and microwave photons.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

After the course the student should be able to:
- Understand the difference between classical and non-classical radiation
- Explain the properties of the Jaynes-Cummings model
- Use the Bloch equations to describe the dissipative dynamics of a quantum mechanical two-level system
- Compute the output state of simple quantum circuits composed of elementary single-qubit operations, entangling gates and measurements
- Have a basic knowledge of the leading architectures to build a quantum computer and their comparative advantages and disadvantages
- Understand the difference between a quantum computer and a quantum simulator, and discuss use cases for both
- Understand how quantum technology may threaten today’s encryption keys and how secure communication can be established by quantum links
- Explain the standard quantum limit and how to break it  
- Explain and experimentally perform manipulations and tomographic measurements of quantum states of a microwave resonator, assisted by a superconducting qubit


In the first part of the course, we will study the foundations of quantum optics, that is, how matter (atoms) interacts with an electromagnetic field at the quantum level (photons). We will study both the semi-classical and the full quantum light-matter interaction and get to know different quantum states of light and their quantum optical description. In experiments that implement these building blocks of quantum optics, one can use atoms, trapped ions or artificial atoms such as superconducting microelectronic circuits that possess quantum mechanical properties like atoms.

In the second part, we will apply the formalism of quantum optics to various physical platforms including superconducting circuits, trapped ions, cold atoms, nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond and mechanical resonators . Here the goal is to understand how quantum effects can be exploited to build novel devices and to use novel measurement techniques, that are key for all four pillars of quantum technology. Quantum computers allow to perform certain computations or simulations by using quantum algorithms that are faster than the corresponding classical algorithms. The development of quantum simulators can be traced back to R. Feynman’s intuition that carefully engineered quantum systems could be used to efficiently simulate materials and molecules, potentially leading to breakthroughs in material science and chemistry. Quantum communication systems allow performing quantum key distribution over absolute safe channels and can connect quantum computers over large distances. Finally, quantum sensors take advantage of quantum phenomena such as state superposition and squeezing to build sensors, imaging systems, and metrological standards with unprecedented accuracy.

Part I
1.    Building blocks of quantum mechanics and quantum optics
2.    Photons: classical and non-classical states of radiation
3.    Wigner functions and Wigner tomography
4.    Atom-field interactions: Rabi oscillations and the Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian
5.    Quantum decoherence and the Bloch equations
6.    Readout of quantum information

Part II
1.    Basics of quantum information processing
2.    Overview of architectures for quantum information processing
3.    Circuit quantum electrodynamics and its applications
4.    Quantum simulation
5.    Quantum communication
6.    Microwave-to-optical transduction
7.    Quantum sensing


Lectures, exercises, home work, and a state-of-the art experiment with report writing


Lecture notes, hand-outs.

The following literature is good but not strictly necessary to acquire:

"Introductory Quantum Optics" Christopher Gerry and Peter Knight, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-10: 052152735X

"Quantum Computation and Quantum Information" Michael A. Nielsen and Isaac L. Chuang Cambridge University Press (2000) ISBN 0 521 63503 9. Can be found as an e-book in the library.

Examination including compulsory elements

The course examination will consist of: 4 obligatory hand-ins, lab report and exam. For reexamination, contact the course examiners. To  pass the course, you need to obtain at least 40% of the points on the exam and participate in the lab and submit a written lab report. The grade will then be based on: exam (50%), hand-ins (35%) and lab report (15%). 

The course examiner may assess individual students in other ways than what is stated above if there are special reasons for doing so, for example if a student has a decision from Chalmers on educational support due to disability.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.