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Current Graduate Students

Course Information

Disclaimer: The curriculum is still subject to minor revisions. Please check back regularly to read the most updated curriculum.

Course Type AU Information
PAP701 Graduate Seminar Module  4 AU

The main purpose of this course is to improve the presentation skills of our graduate students so that they will be able to participate in scientific seminars/exchanges in a professional manner. They will address scientific issues and interact with fellow professionals with confidence. This course will also teach the students essential skills for scientific research. This is a mandatory course for all research MSc and PhD students.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP710 Concepts in Statistical Mechanics 4 AU

This course introduces students to a modern treatment of Statistical Mechanics. It will cover the foundations of Statistical Mechanics, its applications to ideal and interacting systems, as well as to systems near and far away from equilibrium.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP711 Graduate Solid State Physics

4 AU

This course will provide students with an understanding of the advanced concepts in the structure and properties of solids including cooperative and many-body effects that influence the transport, optical and magnetic properties of solids.

Prerequisites: PAP 442 Advanced Solid State Physics, or Division approval

PAP712 Computer Simulations in Physical Sciences 4 AU

This course is introduced to equip students with a fundamental knowledge of computer simulations and the basic skills for data and error analysis (averages, fluctuations, and correlation functions). Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics methods will be introduced and a few advanced topics focusing on the application aspects will be covered. In this course, the students will learn to carry out computer simulations, and be equipped with the ability to read the published work critically and assess its quality.

Prerequisities: PAP 311 Quantum Mechanics and PAP 321 Statistical Mechanics, or Division approval

PAP713 Statistical Mechanics of Protein Folding 4 AU This course introduces an approach to protein folding from the point of view of kinetic theory. There is an abundance of data on protein folding, but few proposals are available on the mechanism driving the process. This course will include suggestions on possible research directions.

Prerequisites: PAP 321 Statistical Mechanics or PAP 710 Concepts in Statistical Mechanics

PAP714 Frontiers of Modern Physics 4 AU

Based on knowledge of the Schrodinger wave function and symmetry principles, the course is designed as an introduction to the frontiers of modern physics, spanning from the nano to the cosmic.  As physics has developed over many new fronts, and specialization sets in ever earlier in the life of a physicist, there is a need to develop the ability to look beyond the turf and appreciate the unity of physics.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP715 Materials Physics 3 AU

The students should learn the basic skills to establish the quantitative models based on modern
thermodynamics; From the successful energy approaches, they will learn to understand many related
experimental observations; They should also master the basic mathematical knowledge to solve the
general nonlinear problems.

Prerequisites: PAP442 Solid State Physics II or By approval

PAP716 Classical Electrodynamics 4 AU This course introduces students to the mathematical structures in the theory of special relativity, and the covariant formulation of Maxwell’s equations. Using this relativistic formulation as a starting point, students will learn about electromagnetic radiation from accelerating systems of charges, and thereby understand the scattering of electromagnetic waves as forced oscillation of, and subsequent re-radiation by, such systems of charges.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP717 Experimental Techniques in Condensed Matter Physics 4 AU

This course aims to acquaint graduate students with the majority of the tools and techniques currently used by experimental condensed-matter physicists. Upon completion of the course, students should understand and feel comfortable with the experimental procedures presented in the majority of condensed-matter publications, even if they may not be familiar with the materials or systems under investigation. They will also have produced a substantial literature review on a technique of their choice.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP719 Graduate Seminar Module II

4 AU

This is the sequel to PAP 501 Graduate Seminar course I, with the objective of further developing the presentation skills of graduate students. The course aims to cultivate an ability to critically review scientific reports and presentations and allow students to gain opportunities for entering into scientific exchange in a professional manner. This course will also teach the students essential skills for survey of scientific literature and formulating a research project. This is an elective course.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP720 Quantum Field Theory in Condensed Matter Systems 4 AU

This course helps students to understand the observed
phenomena, whereas for students with theoretical inclination,
it will provide the necessary background to pursue his/her
research. Upon completion of the course, the student will have
an understanding of the effects of strong correlation in
interacting many body systems and have a clear understanding
of the theoretical tools necessary for studying such strongly
interacting systems.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP721 Nonlinear Dynamics 4 AU

This course provides students with the concepts and theories on nonlinear dynamical systems both in the classical and the quantum domains. Through this course, the student will come to appreciate the beautiful parallels between methods in nonlinear dynamics and thermodynamics; and gain a new perspective on quantum mechanics by studying quantum systems that correspond to classically chaotic systems. By working on a term project, the students will acquire the skills to investigate into interesting problems within the area of nonlinear science, and to formulate and answer questions that are of both theoretical and practical importance.

Prerequisities: PAP 352 Chaotic Dynamical Systems and PAP 441 Advanced Quantum Physics, or Division approval

PAP722 Particle Physics 4 AU

The main aim of this course is to give an introduction to the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics and its theoretical underpinnings. Specifically, upon completion of this course, students should understand what a gauge field theory is and how the various interactions between elementary particles are described by certain gauge field theories. They should know the elementary particle content of the SM and how it fits with the gauge field theory description. Furthermore, they should know the basics of how these field theories are quantized and how physically meaningful quantities are extracted by renormalization techniques. Finally, they should know how to use all this to derive several of the key results of modern particle physics.

Prerequisities: Division approval

PAP723 Advanced Numerical Methods for Physicists 4 AU

The course is upgraded so that it is not dominated by topics in Monte Carlo simulation and molecular dynamics. It will now include a substantial amount of material on numerical methods, e.g. for solving differential equations commonly encountered in physics (such as the Schrodinger equation and Maxwell's equations). This will increase the usefulness of the course for those students not concentrating solely on statistical mechanics or complex systems; for example, the course will now cover material relevant to photonics, mesoscopic physics, etc. (Monte Carlo methods will still be taught, but as only one of several topics).

In addition, the course will now include programming assignments, so that the students may “learn by doing”, by actually implementing the computational methods taught in class.

Prerequisities: Division approval

PAP731 Optical Spectroscopic Techniques 4 AU

This course provides students with an understanding of the fundamental principles of photon-matter interaction, and how material properties such as acoustic and optical phonons as well as electronic structures can be studied using the interactions. The students will also learn the near-field scanning imaging techniques with nanometer spatial resolution that holds great promise for non-destructive structural characterization of nano-devices. The lectures will be supplemented with research results to illustrate how the techniques are used in research.

Prerequisities: PAP 362 Photonics or PAP 442 Advanced Solid State Physics or Division approval

PAP732 Nonlinear Optics 4 AU

The course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding on the principles of nonlinear optics and is targeted at postgraduate students who have acquired a background in optics. The main content of the course introduces the principles of nonlinear optics and photonics devices used in modern optical communications, covered in four parts: Nonlinear optical susceptibility; Second order nonlinear effects; Third order nonlinear effects; Ultrafast laser optics.

Prerequisities: PAP 362 Photonics and PAP 462 Quantum Electronics, or Division approval

PAP733 Elements of Modern Biophysics

4 AU

This course will provide students with an understanding of some important aspects of biophysics. The course will present a new perspective on how physics allows us to measure and explain a number of phenomena of biological origin.

Prerequisities: PAP 363 Biophysics or Division approval

PAP738 Advanced Topics in Physics 4 AU

This course introduces students to specialized topics in Physics which are of current interest in research and development. Topics are chosen from various areas of Physics, e.g. atmospheric physics, statistical physics and computational physics.

Prerequisities: Division approval

PAP739 Advanced Topics in Applied Physics

4 AU

The main purpose of this course is to introduce students to specialized topics in Applied Physics that may not otherwise be offered in the regular curriculum. The selection of the topics would be based on a broad spectrum of current areas of interest that will be useful towards research-oriented teaching. The in-depth treatment on these specialized topics will provide a thorough treatment that enables the student to gain mastery of the subject matter quickly. This is an elective course.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP747 Spintronics for Information Technology


This course will introduce magnetics and spintronics technologies which are useful in hard disk drives and the emerging magnetic random access. The course consists of three parts of almost equal lengths. The first part provides the fundamentals of magnetism. The second part discusses the basics and recent developments of magnetic recording. The third part discusses the basics and recent developments of magnetic random access memory. The course is suitable for students of Physics, Materials Science and Electrical Engineering (Microelectronics). The course is self-contained and there are no prerequisites.

PAP751 Numerical Methods for Fluid Mechanics

3 AU

The course covers specific problems in fluid mechanics along with numerical techniques. The students will learn about numerical techniques to solve diffusion, non-linear convection, Potential flows, Stokes flow, and Navier-Stokes flows. The course will make use of numerical programming language to write algorithms and apply them to a set of specific problems. The ranges of techniques covered are finite differences, boundary elements, and finite element methods.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP760 Graduate Communications and Research Methodology

4 AU

Through working on a series of scientific questions, via working in small groups, giving oral presentations, and critiquing scientific literature, this course aims to help students appreciate the various theoretical and experimental techniques outside their research area, formulate/ask good scientific questions, and in the process, develop the communications, presentation and research skills necessary for productive scientific research.

Prerequisites: Division approval

PAP777 Graduate Quantum Mechanics 4 AU

The course will introduce the students to advanced topics in Quantum Mechanics. These include approximation methods (perturbation theory and variational methods) for studying realistic quantum systems, light-matter interactions, quantum scattering theory, quantization of electromagnetic field and relativistic quantum mechanics. The course will be offered concurrently with the undergraduate elective course Quantum Mechanics III (PH4401), but the graduate module will include additional problems, separate exam questions and an individual project.

Pre-requisite: Undergraduate Quantum Mechanics (PH3101 or equivalent) or division approval.
PAP778 Quantum Field Theory 4 AU

This is a first course in quantum field theory (QFT) where we provide an exposition of basic concepts, mathematical techniques and a sketch of various applications in particle theory and many-body problems in condensed matter physics. The foundational topics which will be introduced include path-integral formalism in quantum mechanics and QFT, canonical quantization, Green’s functions and Feynman diagrams in perturbation theory. We will touch on the application of these concepts to aspects of quantum electrodynamics as well as selected modern topics in condensed matter physics for which QFT is a useful framework, such as the fractional quantum hall effect, mean-field theory of superfluids, renormalization group and Landau-Ginzburg theory of critical phenomena.

Pre-requisite: Division approval.
PAP779 Macroscopic Quantum Phenomena: from Bose-Einstein Condensate to Superconductivity 4 AU

This course covers a few types of macroscopic quantum phenomena: superconductivity, superfluidity, Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC), laser and quantum Hall effect. We start with Bose-Einstein statistics, BEC in (ultra)-cold atomic gases, the Gross-Pitaevskii equation and its applications in BEC. For superfluid helium-4 we introduce macroscopic wave function, momentum distribution, flow quantization, rotating superflulid and vortices, quasi-particle excitations (phonons and rotons), and the two-fluid model by Tisza and Landau. For superconductivity, we review the Drude theory of conduction in normal metals, and basics in superconductivity such as zero-resistivity, the Meissner effect, perfect diamagnetism and so on, then study Type I and Type II superconductors and London equation. Ginzburg-Landau theory will be studied in details, including thermodynamics of phase transition, order parameter, G-L theory in a magnetic field, gauge symmetry and spontaneous symmetry breaking, Abrikosov flux lattice and etc. We also cover macroscopic coherent states and laser, field operators, off-diagonal long-range order (ODLRO), the Josephson effect and its application in the Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID), plus an introduction to the BCS theory. Superfluid helium-3 and unconventional superconductivity will be addressed as well. We close by quantum Hall effects, including integer and fractional quantum Hall effects.

MPS780/1 Supervised Research I /II

4 AU

Weekly consultations (3hrs per week)

Compulsory course for all students admitted in AY09-10 Sem 1 onwards & current students who have not completed the minimum number of coursework requirement.

The purpose of this independent research course is to give the students an opportunity to plan and execute the first stage of the graduate thesis. Each student first selects a topic of his/her interest in close cooperation with the supervisor, conducts a bibliographic research and writes up a proposal (format to be advised by the supervisor).

Lecturer: Immediate Supervisor