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Semester 1

Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics (PHYS10099)


Physics and Astronomy





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Course Summary

The course covers the properties of crystalline solids and other phases of condensed matter. The focus is on developing an understanding of the structural, mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of solids and on gaining a sense for typical orders of magnitude of the relevant physical quantities. The concepts developed in this course will be illustrated with and applied to examples mostly from hard but also soft condensed matter physics. The overall aim is to give a firm grounding in the core concepts, which can be developed further and applied in SH/IM optional courses on condensed matter physics.

Course Description

Crystal Structures - symmetry properties - crystal systems & Bravais lattices - crystal planes & Miller indices Diffraction - diffraction as a Fourier transform process - structure factors and diffraction intensities - atomic scattering factors - systematic absences - diffraction from crystalline and non-crystalline substancesChemical Bonding and Interactions - van der Waals interaction - crystal energetics - van der Waals, ionic, metallic and covalent crystalsPhonons - phonons as elementary excitations - dispersion relations - thermal properties of insulators: heat capacity, thermal conductivity, thermal expansionElectrons in Solids - free and nearly-free electron Fermi gas - electronic band structures - thermal and electrical properties of metals - Fermi surfacesDispersion Relations - phonons - electronic bandsSemiconductors - band filling - band gaps - intrinsic semiconductors and doping - electrical conductivity of semiconductors

Assessment Information

Written Exam 80%, Coursework 20%, Practical Exam 0%

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