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Unit of study_

PHYS4125: Quantum Field Theory

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the basic mathematical framework that is used for a consistent quantum-mechanical description of relativistic systems, such as fundamental subatomic particles in particle physics. The tools of QFT are also used for description of quasi-particles and critical phenomena in condensed matter physics and other related fields. This course introduces major concepts and technical tools of QFT. The course is largely self-contained and covers also Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms for classical fields, elements of group theory and path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. The main topics include second quantization of various fields and description of their interactions, with the main focus on the most accurate fundamental theory of quantum electromagnetism. The last part of the course deals the concept of the renormalisation group, and its applications to critical phenomena in condensed matter systems. By completing this course, you will obtain knowledge of major concepts and tools of contemporary fundamental physics, that can be employed in a wide range of physics and physics-based research, starting from the description of profound effects in condensed matter physics and ending by the understanding of basic building blocks of the Universe .

Unit details and rules

Unit code PHYS4125
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Prohibitions
? 
None
Prerequisites
? 
An average of at least 65 in 144 cp of units including (PHYS3x34 or PHYS3x42 or PHYS3x43 or PHYS3x44 or PHYS3x35 or PHYS3x40 or PHYS3941 or PHYS3x36 or PHYS3x68 or MATH3x63 or MATH4063 or MATH3x78 or MATH4078)
Corequisites
? 
None
Assumed knowledge
? 

A major in physics including third-year quantum physics

Available to study abroad and exchange students

Yes

Teaching staff

Coordinator Bruce Yabsley, bruce.yabsley@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Archil Kobakhidze, archil.kobakhidze@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
? 
Final exam
Final exam
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Assignment 1
Written assignment. Selected problems from lectures 1-8.
12.5% Week 04
Due date: 17 Mar 2023 at 23:59
-
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Assignment 2
Written assignment. Selected problems from lectures 9-16.
12.5% Week 06
Due date: 31 Mar 2023 at 23:59
-
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Assignment 3
Written assignment. Selected problems from lectures 17-24.
12.5% Week 09
Due date: 28 Apr 2023 at 23:59
-
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Assignment 4
Written assignment. Selected problems from lectures 25-32.
12.5% Week 11
Due date: 12 May 2023 at 23:59
-
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Assessment summary

  • Assignment 1: This assignment will require you to apply information from lectures 1-8 and your reading to solve worked problems.​
  • Assignment 2: This assignment will require you to apply information from lectures 9-16 and your reading to solve worked problems.
  • Assignment 3: This assignment will require you to apply information from lectures 17-24 and your reading to solve worked problems.
  • Assignment 4: This assignment will require you to apply information from lectures 25-32 and your reading to solve worked problems.
  • Final exam: This exam will cover all material in the unit. The exam will mostly consist of worked problems. If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator.

Assessment criteria

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject as well as a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding to produce original solutions for novel or highly complex problems and/or comprehensive critical discussions of theoretical concepts.

Distinction

75 - 84

At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a well-developed understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding of the subject to produce good solutions for challenging problems and/or a reasonably well-developed critical analysis of theoretical concepts.

Credit

65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad general understanding of the unit material and can solve routine problems and/or identify and superficially discuss theoretical concepts.

Pass

50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge.

Fail

0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

-

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Classical field theories Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 02 Classical field theories Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 03 Classical field theories Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 04 Canonical quantization of free fields Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 05 Canonical quantization of free fields Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Interacting fields Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 06 Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 08 Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Path integral quantisation and the renormalisation group Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 09 Path integral quantisation and the renormalisation group Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • L.H. Ryder, Quantum Field Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition; (1996)
  • F. Mandl and G. Shaw: Quantum Field Theory, Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd edition (2010)
  • M.E. Peskin and D.V. Schroeder: An Introduction to quantum field theory, Adison-Wesley (1995) 

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Show the conceptual background and technical skills needed to approach research on particle physics and fundamental interactions as well as other fields of physics
  • LO2. Explain contemporary notions of particles and interactions within the framework of canonical quantisation
  • LO3. Represent quantum-mechanical probability amplitudes graphically via Feynman diagrams and calculate experimentally observed quantities such as scattering cross-sections and particle decay rates
  • LO4. Utilise path integral formalism, renormalisation and renormalisation group in the translation of diverse physics phenomena
  • LO5. Find and analyse information and judge its reliability and significance
  • LO6. Communicate scientific information appropriately, both orally and through written work
  • LO7. Demonstrate a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour and independence as a learner and as a scientist.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

There has been a minor change to the schedule since this unit was last offered.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service: unihealth.usyd.edu.au/

Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.