PP2: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics

Module title: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (PP2)

Module convenor: Dr. Thomas Blake (Warwick)

Module aims:

To provide an introduction to calculating scattering amplitudes in high energy physics using perturbation theory. It is not a general introduction to relativistic quantum mechanics and is specialized and intended for high energy physics students only. It is not recommended for non high energy physics students.

Learning objectives:

Use of four-vectors and index notation in relativistic equations.
Understand problems of interpretation in single particle model of RQM.
Use of perturbation theory and interaction terms to arrive at a Transition Amplitude.
Understand the properties of the Dirac equation.
How to calculate physical quantities from a set of Feynman Rules.
Understand spin sums and trace techniques for calculations.


Lecture 1: Special Relativity and Lorentz Invariance
Lecture 2: Examples of Lorentz Invariance: Maxwell and Klein Gordon Equations
Lecture 3: Perturbation Theory for Particle Scattering
Lecture 4: Coulomb Scattering of Charged Spin-0 Particles
Lecture 5: Invariant Amplitudes, Feynman Diagrams and Cross-Sections
Lecture 6: Calculating Cross-Sections for Spin-0 Scattering
Lecture 7: The Dirac Equation
Lecture 8: Dirac Equation: Spin, Antiparticles and Feynman Rules
Lecture 9: Coulomb Scattering of Charged Spin-1/2 Particles
Lecture 10: Spin Sums and Trace Techniques


Assessment will be based on returned solutions to problems. They will be set on a roughly weekly basis with a return deadline one week later. The marks on the problems sheets are indicative and might be adjusted based on future problems. The problem sheets are available here [RQM_2016_Problems].

Course notes

An electronic copy of the notes for the course can be found here [RQM_2016_Notes]

Recommended Texts

There is no set text, and I recommend finding one (or better several!) that suit you best. The course material is mostly covered in the following three books:

  • Quarks and Leptons: An Introductory Course in Modern Particle Physics by F. Halzen and A. Martin
  • Gauge Theories in Particle Physics Volume 1 by I. Aitchison and A. Hey
  • Introduction to Elementary Particles by D. Griffiths

You may also find the following useful for breadth/depth and for later courses on quantum field theory.

  • Modern Quantum Mechanics by J. Sakurai
  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics by J. Sakurai
  • The Principles of Quantum Mechanics by P. Dirac
  • Quantum Mechanics Volumes 1 and 2 by C. Cohen-Tannoudji and B. Diu
  • Relativity : Special, General and Cosmological by W. Rindler
  • A first course in General Relativity by B. Schutz
  • Classical Electrodynamics by J. Jackson
  • Classical Electricity and Magnetism by W. Panofsky and M. Philips
  • Classical Mechanics by H. Goldstein, C. Poole and J. Safko
Academic year: 
07/10/2016 - 11:00