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Experimental Physics 4 (Atomic Physics and Thermodynamics)

Module PH0004 [ExPh 4]

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2022 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2022SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017SS 2011

Basic Information

PH0004 is a semester module in German language at Bachelor’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (4th Semester)
  • Physics Modules for Students of Education

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
240 h 120 h 8 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH0004 is Bastian Märkisch.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


1. Wave packets
1.1 Heisenberg uncertainty principle
1.2 Consequences of the uncertainty principle for bound states
2. Bohr model of the hydrogen atom
2.1 Franck-Hertz-experiment
2.2 limitations of the Bohr model
3. Mathematical background for quantum mechanics
3.1 The Schrödinger equation
3.2 Operators and measurement values 
3.3 Additional state equations for the wave function
3.4 Commutation relations
4. The hydrogen atom
4.1 Eigen functions of the angular momentum
4.2 The radial part of the central potential
5. The spectra of alcali atoms
6. Orbit and spin magnetism - The fine structure
6.1 Orbital magnetism
6.2 Spin magnetism
6.3 The Stern-Gerlach experiment
6.4 Spin-orbit coupling and fine structure
6.5 Lamb shift and relativistic effects
7. Atoms in magnetic fields
7.1 ESR
7.2 Zeeman effect
7.3 Paschen-Back effect
7.4 Hyperfine structure
7.5 Term table of the hydrogen atom
7.6 NMR
8. Fermions and bosons
9. Many electron systems
9.1 Coupling of angular momentum
9.1.1 L-S coupling
9.1.2 J-J coupling
9.2 Magnetic moments
10. The periodic table
10.1 Ground state
10.1.1 Hund´s rules
11. Optical selection rules
11.1 Multipole radiation
11.2 Atoms in static electric fields
11.2.1 The quadratic Stark effect
11.2.2 The linear Stark effect
12. Spectral linewidth
13. The chemical bond
13.1 The hydrogen ion H2+
13.2 The neutral hydrogen molecule
13.3 Molecular excitations
13.3.1 Electronic, vibrational and rotational excitations
13.3.2 Combined excitations: the Frank-Condon principle
14. Introduction to nuclear physics
14.1 Isobar, Isotone and Isotope
14.2 Mass defect
14.3 the droplet modell of nuclear physics
14.4 Mass spectrometry

1. Introduction
2. Temperature
3. Specific heat
4. Heat transport
5. Changes of state/Thermodynamic processes
6. Second law of thermodynamics
7. Phase transitions
8. Thermodynamics of solutions
8.1 Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics
8.2 Photon statistics
8.3 Fermi-Dirac
8.4 Bose-Einstein
9. Third law of thermodynamics

Learning Outcome

After the successful completion of the module the students know the principles of atomic physics and the applications and are able to apply them to solve given problems. Students understand the methods and concepts of non-relativistic quantum physics and the limitations and can apply them. Students know the principles of atomic electron transitions and the relevance of symmetries e.g. parity symmetry. After the successful participation in this module students know the concepts to quantummechnically describe ground states and excitations in molecular physics and apply this knowledge to two atomic molecules. 

Students know the basic concepts of thermodynamics and understand the physics behind heat and heat transport. They can describe thermodynamic processes and know the laws of thermodynamics and their application. They know the physics of phase transitions and the thermodynamics of solutions.  


PH0001, PH0002, PH0003, MA9201, MA9202, MA9203, MA9204

for students studying bachelor of science education mathematics / physics: PH0001, PH0002, PH0003, MA9935, MA9936, MA9937, MA9939

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VU 6 Experimental Physics 4 Schönert, S.
Assistants: Kressierer, J.Rohr, C.
Tue, 08:15–09:45, MI HS1
Thu, 14:15–16:00, MI HS1
and dates in groups
VO 2 Experimental Physics 4 in English Finley, J. Tue, 14:00–16:00, PH HS1
UE 2 Open Tutorial to Experimental Physics 4 Höffer von Loewenfeld, P. Rohr, C.
Responsible/Coordination: Schönert, S.
Mon, 10:00–12:00, MW 1050
and singular or moved dates

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the lecture "Experimental Physics 4" the learning content is presented via ex-cathedra teaching using instructive examples and showing demonstration experiments. The students are encouraged to engage in scientific discussions, to revisit the learning content themselves and to work through the textbooks mentioned in the section "Literature".

The open tutorial provides the opportunity for solving problems based on the learning content of the lecture for oneself or as a group. The open tutorial is overseen by different tutors an leaves room for further discussions and exchange with other students. Problem solving strategies are presented and the students are asked to revisit the learning content relevant for the specific problem set and to apply these problem solving strategies.

The tutorial is held in small groups. The students are asked to work out the solutions to the weekly problem sets themselves at home before coming to the tutorial. In this way the students can control and deepen their understanding of the methods and concepts presented in the lecture. During the tutorial solutions to the weekly problem set are presented by the students and the tutor. The tutorial  provides room for discussions and additional explanations to the lectures, prepares for the problems of the exam and rehearses the specific competencies.

The lecture "Experimental Physics 4 in English" is optional. Some of the learning contents of the much more comprehensive mandatory physics lecture "Experimental Physics 4" (held in German language) are briefly revisited in this lecture. The lecture "Experimental Physics 4 in English" puts a slightly different focus than the mandatory physics lecture and provides the opportunity to come in contact with the profession-specific English jargon.

The different teaching formats are closely intertwined and the lecturers are in constant exchange.


Presentation on the blackboard as well as slides

Experiments are used for demonstration purposes (descriptions available for download)

Videos (partly available for download)

Script available for download

Weekly problems with solutions available for download


H. Haken, H.C. Wolf; Atom- und Quantenphysik, Springer Verlag, 8. Auflage
T. Mayer-Kuckuck; Atomphysik, Teubner Verlag
W. Demtröder; Atome, Molküle und Festkörper, Springer Verlag
Marmier; Kernphysik I
T. Mayer-Kuckuck; Kernphysik, Teubner Verlag

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be a written exam of 90 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using calculation problems and comprehension questions. The exam is in German..

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Sketch a qualitatively correct energy scheme of hydrogen with and without fine structure up to n=2.
  • Calculate and compare the absorption frequencies of the three hydrogen isotopes Protium, Deuterium and Tritium of the Lyman-α-line.
  • Gas with a given volume is heated by 600 K. Calculate the work W and the heat Q for this process.

Participation in the exercise classes is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

There will be a bonus (one intermediate stepping of "0,3" to the better grade) on passed module exams (4,3 is not upgraded to 4,0). The bonus is applicable to the exam period directly following the lecture period (not to the exam repetition) and subject to the condition that the student passes the mid-term of

  • passing the voluntary test exam during the semester
  • sensibly preparing at least 50% of the problems for presentation in the tutorials

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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