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Building Blocks of Quantum Matter


Admission Requirements

Lineaire Algebra 1/1NA, Quantum Mechanics 1, Analyse 1/1NA.

It is highly recommended to also have had Introductie Moderne Natuurkunde, Linear Algebra 2/2NA, Quantum Mechanics 2.


Spectra of atoms and molecules are an important source of information for many physical systems and processes: abundances in stars, velocities of stars and galaxies and experimental verification of chemical reactions, to name just a few. In this course we focus on the structure of atoms and simple molecules. We have to go well beyond what was taught in quantum mechanics courses about the energy level structure of the Hydrogen atom. Besides Hydrogen, we will consider Hydrogen-like systems, Helium, and many-electron atoms in general. The description of the latter necessitates the use of approximation schemes. In the last part of the course, symmetry will play an important role to describe molecular structure.

Course objectives

After completion of this course, you will be able to apply the rules of quantum mechanics to the structure and spectroscopy of atoms and simple molecules. With that knowledge you'll be able to critically analyse research papers involving spectroscopic data, explain to a considerable degree the structure of the periodic table, and qualitatively describe the spectroscopic behavior of simple molecules.

Transferable Skills

By following this course you get a sense of how to make simplifying assumptions in complex problems and the use of hierarchy of energy and time scales.


For detailed information go to Timetable in Brightspace

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

See Brightspace

Assessment method


Reading list

J. Micahel Hollas: Modern Spectroscopy (4th edition), John Wiley & Sons, publisher
Other reading material, in the form of a syllabus, will be provided as the course develops.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Contact details lecturers: Dr. J. Tura Brugués Dr. J.W. Dalhuisen