Class meets MWF 3:30-4:20PM in Wean Hall 7316
Professor Mike Widom, Office 6305 Wean Hall
e-mail: email@example.com, Phone: 412-268-7645
Office Hours: Any time I'm not busy
This course presents an introduction to the physics of solid state materials, with an emphasis on traditional bulk crystalline materials but with occasional examples drawn from modern topics such as quantum wells, graphene, etc. We begin with definitions of crystal lattices, their reciprocal lattices, and experimental methods such as Bragg diffraction to probe crystal structure. Models of crystal binding are generalized to include dynamics, first for classical lattice vibrations and then for quantized lattice vibrations known as phonons. These concepts are used to calculate the heat capacities of insulating crystals, to introduce the concept of density of states, and to discuss phonon scattering. The band theory of solids is developed, starting with the free electron model of a metal and culminating with the properties of conductors and semiconductors. Bragg diffraction of vibrational and electron waves serves as a unifying theme of the course.
Prior familiarity with quantum mechanics is assumed at the level of 33-234 or 33-225, and statistical mechanics/thermodynamics at the level of 33-341.
Books: Several excellent books are available in the E&S library.
1. Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics (8th edition), QC176.K5 2005
2. Ashcroft and Mermin, Solid State Physics, QC176.A83
3. Goodstein, States of Matter, QC173.3.G66
4. Guinier, The Structure of Matter: From the blue ski to liquid crystals, QC173.G82613 1984
5. Guinier and Jullien, The Solid State: From superconductors to superalloys, QC176.G8513 1989
The principal content of the course will be drawn from Kittel, including homework assignments. Ashcroft and Mermin is a popular graduate level text covering similar material at a more advanced level. Goodstein has excellent background material on thermal physics, a chapter on solids offering a nice "thumbnail sketch" of this course, and a chapter on superconductivity. The books by Guinier display a broad view of condensed matter physics emphasizing a qualitative understanding and real-world relevance.
Grading: Letter grades will be based on weekly homework assignments, midterm exams and a final exam. Homework assignments are listed here. Homework and exam scores will be posted at Blackboard.
Note this outline is only approximate. Actual class coverage can be found here. A collection of links to useful online material is here
Weeks 1-3. Crystal structure and diffraction patterns. Read chapters 1-3 and
Weeks 4-7. Atomic vibrations and phonons. Read chapters 4&5 and Appendices C&D.
Weeks 8-11. Electrons in crystals. Read chapters 6 and 7.
Weeks 12-15. Semiconductors and metals. Read chapters 8 and 9 and appendices E and F.