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SH1009 Modern Physics 10.5 credits

Course offerings are missing for current or upcoming semesters.
Headings with content from the Course syllabus SH1009 (Autumn 2008–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Part I (The experimental background of Modern Physics nd quantum mechanics). 7.5 hp.

The experimental foundations of modern physics: Elementary relativity theory. The Michelson-Morely experiment. Einstein's theory of special relativity. Length contraction. Time dialation. Elementary quantum physics. Planck's radiation law. X-ray radiation and spectra. Rutherford's atomic model. Atomic structure. Bohr's atomic model. Atomic energy levels. Nuclear structure. Radioactive decay. Matter waves. Wave packets and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Wave-particle duality.

Quantum mechanics: the foundations of quantum mechanics. Operators and commutation relations. The Schrödinger equation applied to simple potentials. Interpretation of wave functions. Plane wave solutions. The harmonic oscillator. Angular momentum and spin. The hydrogen atom and the periodic table. The Pauli principle. Lowest order time independent perturbation theory and applications there-of. Applications to physical phenomena: (including) the photoelectric effect, the Compton effect, X-ray diffraction, particle diffraction, the Stark effect, the Zeeman effect. Applications within science and technology (including) tunneling, the tunneling electron microscope, the Stern-Gerlach experiment, the atomic nucleus, the helium atom, simple molecules.

Part II (Laboratory exercises and project work). 3 hp.

Three laboratories with written reports (1.5 hp). Project work (1.5 hp).

Intended learning outcomes

After completing this course a student should be able to:

  • Explain the scientific basis of modern physics, as defined by the course syllabus.  
  • Set up and perform quantum mechanical calculations on simple systems
  • Apply quantum mechanical principles to scientific and technical applications
  • Report on practical experience concerning experimental methods within modern physics

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Courses in physics (or equivalent): SI1100, SK1100 and SI1140, in mathematics (or equivalent): SF1604, SF1602 and SF1603, in mechanics (or equivalent): SG1130.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


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Modern Physics, Randy Harris. Pearson / Addison-Wesley.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 7.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Three home assignments (optional) and a written examination (TEN1, 7.5 hp). Laboratory exercises (LAB1, 1.5 hp). Project work (PRO1, 1.5 hp).

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

Physics, Technology

Education cycle

First cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Bengt Lund-Jensen,, tel. 5537 8179