PHYS3021 Statistical and Solid State Physics
Students should only enrol into PHYS3080 if they have already taken PHYS3020, or if their degree plan requires PHYS3080.
All other students should enrol into PHYS3021 Statistical and Solid State Physics in 2013.
Solid State Physics
Free electron model of
metals, Bloch states and energy bands, reciprocal space and the Fermi surface,
electron dynamics, Landau levels, crystal structure, Brillouin zones,
elementary diffraction theory, bonding, cohesive processes, impurity states,
impurity conductivity, lattice vibration, monatomic and diatomic chain,
acoustic and optic phonons, Einstein and Debye models, dielectric effects,
basics of superconductivity.
Table of contents
Lecture notes 1
Lecture notes 2
Lecture notes 3
Lecture notes 4
Lecture notes 5
Lecture notes 6
The course assumes
familiarity with second year PHYS2040 Quantum Physics and first year
mathematics, e.g. MATH1231 or MATH1241. Co-requisite courses are PHYS3010
Quantum Mechanics (Advanced) or PHYS3210 Quantum Mechanics, and PHYS3020
Solid State Physics provides the basis for the
most important technological advances of the 20th century. It also
provides a wide range of opportunities to ‘see’ the effects of Quantum Physics
in action. Specific topics include:
discussion of the basic concept of a lattice and some important and yet
quite simple crystal structures;
behaviour of atoms in a crystal; vibrational modes of a lattice and their
behaviour of electrons in a metal; “Free-Electron model” and the “Nearly
Free-Electron model”; electron waves and lattice potential;
bands in crystals; Brillouin Zones;
direct and indirect band-gaps; the effects of doping a semiconductor;
basic semiconductor devices such as the p-n junction;
phenomenon of superconductivity; key experiments; some attempts to explain
superconductivity; the BCS model (the importance of phonons).
will learn the basics of crystallography and the importance of periodicity.
will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of Quantum Physics to
real systems such as metals and semiconductors.
will be able to follow the development of the phenomenon of
superconductivity from both experimental and theoretical viewpoints.
Why is Solid State Physics important?
Firstly, it is often said
that Solid State Physics is the branch of Physics in which perhaps half of all
present-day physicists are working. The coupling of Solid State Physics and
Quantum Physics is the basis for virtually all technological aspects of modern
The course is strongly
recommended as groundwork for a number of 3rd year courses, e.g.
PHYS3310 Physics of Solid State Devices, as well as the 4th year
Honours units in Solid State Physics and Advanced Condensed Matter Physics.
How to succeed -
Strategies for Learning
This course will provide
both an introduction to the behaviour of solid materials and the conceptual
tools necessary if one wishes to pursue such studies. At this level, it is
important to focus on the basic principles which, in many cases, can be
appreciated without the need for detailed mathematics. The subject naturally
includes much Quantum Mechanics but the student will find that the Quantum
Physics studied in 2nd year will provide most of the skills needed
to follow this course.
Like most subjects, the key
to success is hard work. At regular points during the course (to link in with
the lecture topics). I will distribute a sheet of tutorial problems covering
the topic and approximately one in five of the class periods will be devoted to
a tutorial in which solutions to these problems will be discussed.
It is useful, as in any
course, for each student to prepare a concise summary of the material presented
For rules regarding academic honesty, etc, see the School
Solid State Physics (1st Ed.) (Wiley) by P.
Solid State Physics (2nd Ed.) (Wiley) by
J.R. Hook & H.E. Hall
Introductory Solid State Physics, H.P. Myers
Solid State Physics, N.W. Ashcroft & N.D. Mermin
Information on student
support services may be found on the School website here.
last updated 1st March 2012