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About Optical and Solid State Physics

  1. Nov 20, 2007 #1
    Now I can obviously just search the internet for information about what these areas of physics are about, but what I want to know is more specific information about these areas that I can't find.
    Like what areas of Physics are used in Optical physics or maybe more specifically Quantum Optics/Information, besides the obvious thing like optics. Electrodynamics, and Quamtum mechanics are when talking about Quantum Optics, what about areas like QED, or maybe QTF? Are they 'useless' in optical physics?
    So to be even more specific what areas of math do one also use? Since I want to take some math courses, and don't want to take stuff completly irrevant.

    And the questions for Solid State Physics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2007 #2
    Aren't there people in here who have studied Quantum Optics or Information, and can say something about it?
  4. Nov 21, 2007 #3
    I think that orginally (early 20th centuury) optics and solid state did not have much use for field theory. However, this has changed. The BCS theory of superconductivity, effective field theories, and cavity QED are all examples where field theories have had application to solid state and optics. So I don't think QFT is useless if you are going into these fields.

    In terms of math classes, as long as you take math classes in analysis, differential equations, linear algebra, and numeric methods, then you will find tools that make you a better physicist. I'm not sure about more abstract areas like number theory.
  5. Nov 25, 2007 #4
    When getting a degree in those areas (or in any areas of physics), do you then become EITHER a theoretical OR an experimental physicist, isn't there something 'in between'? I like theoretical physics but I also want to test the theories and hence be 'involved' in experiments. But I think theoreticians are usually involved with experiments, and work with experimentalists, so is it the case in optical physics?

    But how are the job opportunities for theoretical physicists in optical physics?
  6. Nov 25, 2007 #5

    Dr Transport

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    Most theoreticians are involved with experiments, how would you be able to test your predictions.

    As for jobs in thoeretical optics, I have not seen too many out there in the industrial world, there are a few. I do exactly what you are discussing, theoretician working in a lab checking my predictions. Most of my work involves materials characterization, so I do alot of what would be considered "applied research".
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