The following material gives an outline of the course content. Please note that the individual courses are still under development so the syllabus given here will undoubtedly be subject to a certain amount of change.

Programme Content

 In the first term there will be three core courses, along with the optional course if  taken during the first term (you are only required to take one optional course which can be taken either in the first or second term), and the professional skills training. There will be no formal activities during the Christmas holidays, but students will be required to undertake private study, in particular with regard to the examinations at the start of the second term.

The second term has two core courses (plus an optional course if taken during this term) and further professional skills courses. A major element of the second term will be the start of the major research project, which continues full time into the third term (and possibly subsequently to their PhD studies).

Term 1 (30 ECTS total)

Compulsory courses

Mathematical and Computational Methods (7 ECTS for Theorists, 4 ECTS for Experimentalists);

In these lectures important advanced mathematical tools and concepts will be presented, including Probability theory, matrix analysis and approximation methods. Introduction to numerical methods, including optimization, as well as basics of MatLab, Maple and Mathematica (joint course with Physics MSc consisting of lectures and tutorials).

 Experimental students will take the first half of the Mathematical methods course, including the Mathematica course, and then will switch to courses on Labview (joint course with the Physics MSc) and Instrumentation (joint course with Physics MSc).  

Quantum Information Theory (7 ECTS);

Basic concepts such as pure versus mixed quantum states, generalized quantum measurements and evolutions will be introduced. The quantification and efficient verification of quantum correlations will be discussed. Applications and theory of quantum communication and simulation will be developed and algorithms for quantum computing devices will be presented. Importantly, architectures and physical requirements for possible implementations will be discussed. 

Quantum and Nonlinear Optics (7 ECTS);

The concepts of electromagnetic field quantisation in free space are outlined, and the quantum theory of atom-light interactions will be described. The focus will be on quantum states of light, nonclassical light, linear and nonlinear effective interaction Hamiltonians, and applications to cavity quantum electrodynamics with neutral atoms and ions. Decoherence and dissipation in such systems as well as theoretical methods for their description will be discussed. 

LabView and Instrumentation (3 ECTS of Experimentalists).

The Labview module will introduce students to data acquisition and lab automation concepts. At the end of the course the students will be comfortable automating a small scale experiment by themselves. The course will use the LabVIEW programming environment and will be practically based.

 The Instrumentation course will consist of a mix of lectures and lab-based sessions. It will cover the following topics: 

  1. Sensors transducers and signals. General characteristics, departure from ideal behaviour and some examples.
  2. Electronics for interfacing to sensors, conditioning signals, and amplifiers
  3. Noise: types of, and design techniques for minimising.
  4. The instrument as a System. Characterising sensor systems, mathematical description of behaviour and predicting input/output characteristics
  5. Sampled signals, digital signal processing

Optional Courses

  • One relevant courses from the MSc in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces, the MSc in Optics and Photonics or fourth year option courses from Physics and Mathematics (7 ECTS);
  • Selected workshops from GSEPS list (2 ECTS).


Term 2 and Easter period (30 ECTS total)

Compulsory courses

Quantum Physics and Chemistry of Cold Matter (7 ECTS);

In this lecture course the students will learn the physics of cold atoms, ions and molecules. The course will cover both the theory and the modern experimental techniques of the field. The course will begin with lectures on atomic physics and atom-photon interactions, and will then cover a set of advanced topics including laser cooling, magnetic and optical trapping of atoms, formation and manipulation of quantum degenerate gases, ion trapping, cold molecules and collision physics at low temperatures. 

Experimental Realisations of Controlled Quantum Dynamics (7 ECTS);

Building on the introduction in course (ii & iii) a thorough discussion of a variety of physical implementation for CQD will be taught, including matter based systems such as trapped atoms and ions, superconducting devices, quantum dots and photonic systems such as optical cavities, polarization and photon number degree of freedom of travelling light. Matter-light interfaces and their realizations will be discussed and strategies for combating noise will be discussed.

 In addition to these courses, we will offer intensive week long summer courses on selected topic presented by international researchers. The students are expect to attend but the courses will not be examined. 

Outreach project (7 ECTS)

In the second term the students will, working with their colleagues in the other CDTs, prepare an outreach lecture suitable for both students of other CDTs and final year undergraduate students in physics and related disciplines. The content of this lecture, which will be presented by the students as a team, will be the various aspects of the research being conducted by CDT member groups. The preparation of this lecture will take place under the guidance of Dr Nicholas Harrigan, the Outreach Officer for the CDTs. The successful preparation of this lecture will require the students to acquaint themselves with the research of the CDT members, experiment and theory, in some depth. Furthermore, it will assist team building and is expected to deepen contacts and communication between experimental and theoretical research. 

Optional Courses

  • One relevant courses from the MSc in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces, the MSc in Optics and Photonics or fourth year option courses from Physics and Mathematics (7 ECTS);
  • Selected workshops from GSEPS list (2 ECTS).


Term 3 and summer period (30 ECTS)

During the third term and the summer the students will work full time on their individual research project. (30 ECTS)

The central aim of the research project is to provide training both in the technical area and in research skills, developing their technical and professional skills in the process. In this project students will study research literature and address a research problem in CQD.

 Indicative project areas include: 


  • Development of novel laser sources (not available commercially) tailored to specific experiments in CQD
  • Design, construction and testing of novel atom and ion trapping environments
  • Development of diagnostic tools for CQD experiments e.g. continuous wavelength measurement of multiple laser sources
  • High resolution spectroscopy of atoms and molecules in traps and beams for applications in frequency standards and precision measurements. 


  • Trapped atoms
  • Trapped and travelling light;
  • Light-matter interfaces;
  • Implementation oriented theory;
  • Decoherence;
  • Quantum Transport
  • Entanglement Theory and Applications,
  • Quantum and Classical Simulations
  • Foundations.