Course syllabus


FKA173 Quantum optics and quantum information lp1 HT21 (7.5 hp)

The course is offered by the department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience

Note: We will closely monitor the covid19 situation and the rules and recommendations that Chalmers puts forward in respect to teaching. Please refer to this canvas website for the FKA173 course how teaching in the course takes place.

Contact details

Thilo Bauch

role: course examiner, teacher


phone: 031-7723397 

room: D419, MC2


Witlef Wieczorek

role: teacher


phone: 031-7726772

room: A415, MC2


Giulia Ferrini

role: teacher


phone: 031-7726417

room: C520, MC2


Ananthu Pullukattuthara Surendran

role: teaching assistant


room: D422, MC2


Cameron Calcluth

role: teaching assistant


room: C524, MC2


Marina Kudra

role: lab supervisor


room: A714, MC2


Student representatives of the course are:

Paul Jamet Suria: 

Philip Karlsson:

In case you want to give feedback to us teachers and teaching assistants, you can do it directly or via the student representatives. More information about their role is found here.

Course purpose

The course gives an introduction on how one can manipulate and detect quantum mechanical systems such as single atoms and photons, and how one can use them as quantum mechanical two-level systems - quantum bits - for quantum information processing. The course gives an overview on this very active field of research and connects to ongoing research on quantum mechanical superconducting circuits and microwave photons.

We will first study how matter (atoms) interacts with an electromagnetic field at the quantum level (photons) and how one can perform experiments that demonstrate and exploit the "strange" properties of quantum mechanics, e.g. teleportation. In such experiments, one can use "ordinary" atoms or artificial atoms such as superconducting microelectronic circuits that possess quantum mechanical properties like atoms. 

Such a quantum technology enables to build quantum computers or quantum communication systems. Quantum computers allow to perform certain computations or simulatiopns by using quantum algorithms that are faster than the corresponding classical algorithms. We will discuss some basic algorithms in the course. Quantum communication systems allow performing quantum key distribution over absolute safe channels, which we will briefly touch upon in the course.

Course content

Building blocks of quantum mechanics and quantum optics:
- two-level systems (qubits) and the Bloch sphere;
What is circuit quantum electrodynamics?
- quantizing an electronic circuit;
Interactions between light and matter:
- photons: classical and non-classical states of radiation;
- atom-field interaction: Rabi-oscillations and the Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian;
- quantum decoherence;
- read-out of quantum information.
Quantum information science: 
- quantum algorithms: universal gate sets, Deutsch-Josza's, and Grover's algorithms;
- quantum communication; teleportation and quantum key distribution.



Course literature

The following literature is good but not strictly necessary to purchase (available at Chalmers library as e-books):

Course design

The course starts on September 2nd at 9:00 - 11:45 in Fasrummet, MC2-A820, and consists of lectures, tutorials, exercises, hand-ins (homework), and a state-of-the-art experiment with report writing. 

Lectures are on Mondays 13:15-16:00 and Thursdays 9:00 - 11:45 (and Friday Sep 4th 15:15 - 17:00 of the first course week) and held by Thilo, Witlef and Giulia. All the lectures will be held on-campus.

Lectures starting in week 37 - September 13 (Witlef's part) are a mix of pre-recorded lectures and live lecturing.

  • You find the pre-recorded lectures here.
  • You are expected to watch these pre-recorded lectures before you attend the on-campus lecture.
  • In the lecture on-campus, it is expected that you are familiar with the pre-recorded material.
  • Please test your knowledge in the quizzes after having watched the pre-recorded material and before attending the lecture on-campus. 

Exercise sessions are on Fridays 15:15 - 17:00 and are held by Cameron and Ananthu on-campus. During the exercise sessions, you will discuss the solutions in smaller groups.  Exercise sheets are handed out Thursdays. Please prepare solutions to the questions on the sheet until the exercise session taking place on Friday the week after (7 days to prepare exercise questions). In total, you will have 5 exercise sessions.

Hand-ins (homework) are handed out on Thursdays. The deadline for the hand-ins is at least 11 days later and found here. In total, you will have to solve 5 hand-ins.

The laboratory session will take place during week 40 (October 4-8) on campus. Information for the lab you find here. After the laboratory, you will have to prepare a lab report.

Changes made since the last occasion

There are no changes made since the last occasion of the FKA173 course (Lp1 HT 2019).

However, the course will follow the rules and recommendations that Chalmers puts forward in response to covid19. Hence, changes in the teaching format (a mix of online and on-site teaching) might occur. 

Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

After the course, the student should be able to
- derive the Hamiltonian of an electronic circuit;

- 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;
- analyze the properties of simple quantum algorithms and understand their difference with respect to the corresponding classical algorithms in terms of time complexity;
- compute the output state of simple quantum circuits composed of elementary single-qubit operations, entangling gates and measurements;
- explain and experimentally perform manipulations and measurements of the state of a superconducting qubit

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen: Study plan

Examination form

The course examination will consist of: 5 obligatory hand-ins, 1 lab report, and 1 exam. For re-examination, contact the course examiner.

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 the exam (50%), hand-ins (35%), and lab report (15%).

The hand-ins will be handed out on Thursdays. The deadline for the hand-ins is found here and will be corrected until the next exercise.

The date of the exam will be Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Information on how and in which form the exam takes place will be shortly posted here. 

Do not forget to register for the exam (both students and PhD students), the latest date is 2021-10-08! Without registration, you will not be able to sit the exam. Students register via Ladok, PhD students @ Chalmers register via Ladok, and PhD students who are not admitted to a Chalmers graduate school (doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg for example) cannot use the online exam registration service. Instead, they must send an e-mail to with the following information: name, personal identity number and course code, stating that you are a doctoral student. This must be done during the examination sign-up period for the exam.