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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lih-Yuan Lin
E E 400
Seattle Campus

Advanced Topics in Electrical Engineering

Contemporary topics at the advanced undergraduate elective level. Faculty presents advanced elective topics not included in the established curriculum.

Class description

The objective of this course is to introduce the world of quantum mechanics to engineers in a way that focuses on physical intuition and practical applications. The course starts with basic principles and formulism in quantum theory through studying wave-particle duality and the Schrödinger’s equation. The course materials will be coupled to engineering examples such as electron-beam diffraction and nanostructures exemplifying quantum confined systems. We then study critical properties of solids using quantum theory. Two key applications will be discussed: tunneling phenomenon that underlines the operating principle of many modern characterization tools in nanotechnology, as well as interaction of photons with quantum systems that constitutes the core processes of photonic devices such as lasers and LEDs. The subjects we plan to discuss are:

Wave-particle duality Are you a wave? When does a particle become a wave? We will discuss when quantum mechanics becomes important and why we need to study it.

Schrödinger’s equation How do we describe a one-particle quantum system? We will study some basic scenarios.

Quantum statistics How about many particles? We will learn quantum physics in solids such as semiconductors, conductors and insulators – quantum systems that are already old friends of us.

Tunneling phenomenon We cannot walk through a wall, but if you are a quantum particle, you can. We will learn the WKB approximation to help us solve this problem.

Light-matter interaction Photon is a good example of quantum particles. Understanding how photons interact with a quantum system is fundamental to understanding how modern photonic devices such as lasers and LEDs work. Time-dependent perturbation theory will be used to handle this topic.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Stephen Graham
Date: 03/02/2009