Fall 2019 Teaching: PHY 555 Solid State Physics

Fall 2019: PHY 555

Instructor: Marivi Fernandez-Serra

Office: Physics B-139; office hours: Mon 4:30-6:00; Fr-9:00-10:00
The class will meet in Physics B-131, MWF 11:00-11:53 am

Scope of the Course

A study of the fundamental principles and concepts of condensed matter physics.

Part I is dedicated to understanding basic concepts. Will introduce the modern conceptual models of a solid from the point of view of (i) interacting atoms and (ii) elementary excitations, developing a solid base on the basic elements needed to understand many of the properties of solids and the methods to calculate them.

Part II  focuses on the fundamentals of electron interactions, electron dynamics and response functions. These are fundamental to understand many phenomena in in condensed matter physics. Part III will cover different phenomena that are central to modern condensed matter and materials research. I will not have time to cover all the topics in the book, but the students should have the basis to continue learning on their own with what will not be covered in the course.

By the end of the course, students should have a working knowledge of the fundamentals, sufficient to understand developments at the forefront of the field.


Part I: Basic Concepts: electrons and phonons: MT1

1.1 Concept of solid: introduction and overview 2 lectures

1.2 Electrons in Crystals 4 lectures

1.3 Electronic energy bands 3 lectures

1.4 Lattice vibrations and phonons 4 lectures

Part II  Electron interactions, dynamics and responses (MTII)

2.1 Electron dynamics in crystals 4 lectures

2.2 Many electron interactions: the homogeneous interacting electron gas and beyond 3 lectures

2.3 Density Functional Theory (DFT) 3 lectures

2.4 The dielectric function for solids 4 lectures

Part III Optical and Transport phenomena

3.1 Electronic transitions and optical properties of solids 3 lectures

3.2 Electron-phonon interactions 3 lectures

3.3 Fundamentals of transport phenomena in solids 3 lectures


I will be mostly using the new book by Cohen and Louie  (Fundamentals of Condensed Matter Physics, Cambridge University Press). You can also choose to buy other. My preferred book has always been Ashcoft, tied to Ziman's. However the new book by Cohen and Luie is superior and way more modern. Here are other good suggestions

Other Useful texts:

Ashcroft and Mermin, Solid State Physics
Ziman, Theory of Solids

Condensed Matter in a Nutshell,  Gerald D. Mahan

Ibach and Luth, Solid State Physics.

Grosso and Parravicini, Solid State Physics.

Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics
Kittel, Quantum Theory of Solids
Madelung, Introduction to Solid State Theory

Homework Policy

Problem sets will be assigned (almost) every Friday. They will be due the following Friday and will be graded and returned the Friday after that.

Course Grading

There will be two midterms and a final exam. Midterms will be two short (1h long) exams. The MT1 will cover part 1, MT2 will cover part 2. The final exam will cover both and perhaps some topics of part 3. Exams will be very much in line with homeworks.  Each exam will be only 25% of the course. Homework will be another 25% of the course. I will also give a final paper, in a journal club style (20% final grade weight) to the students. The papers will be chosen by the students from a pool of topics I will provide. Students will present the paper to the class during the two last weeks of the course.

Assignments : 25%
Midterm I : 25% October 4 (class hours)

Midterm II: 25% November 20 (class hours)
Final: 25% (can replace grade of MT1 or MT2 whichever is lower). December 14 (11:15-1:45)

Important University Policies If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your ability to carry out assigned course work, contact the staff in the Disabled Student Services office (DSS), 128 Educational Communications Center, 632-6748/9. DSS will review your concerns and determine with you what accommodations are necessary and DSS will advise me. All information and documentation of disability is confidential.

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