Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Fall 2002

Course Title: Physics 731: Solid State Physics: Survey of Fundamentals

Instructor: Prof. Ted Einstein

Office: Physics Bldg. , Room 2307; Phone: (301) 405-6147


Course Description: As a survey course, Physics 731 treats a broad range of topics. The emphasis will be on fundamentals of the electronic and vibrational properties of solids and on unifying concepts, with the intention that students continue in Spring 2003 with Physics 732 (to be taught by Prof. H. D. Drew), which will discuss developments in semiconductors, magnetism, superconductivity (esp. high Tc), low-dimensional systems (surfaces, nanotubes, etc.). Previous attempts to cover a large subset of this material in one semester has proved frustrating to both students and instructors!

Time; Place: Tuesdays, Thursdays, 11:00-12:15; Physics Bldg., Room 1304

Teaching Assistant/Grader: Antonio C. Silva, e-mail:

Office: Physics Bldg., Room 2309; Phone: (301) 405-5045

Text: Solid State Physics, N. W. Ashcroft and N. D. Mermin (Saunders..., 1976)--see reference list. This is a wonderful text but is a quarter century old. Students planning to take Physics 732 or to specialize in Condensed Matter Physics should seriously consider purchasing a supplementary text of recent vintage. Several are listed on the bibliography.

Homework: There will be about ten homework assignments. They are a very important part of the course; to master the material generally requires doing problems conscientiously. But homework is not a take-home test: Students are encouraged to discuss the problems with each other after thinking about them alone, and to explore the physics behind the problems. However, each student should write answers individually. Late problem sets should be turned in directly to the TA. Solutions will be distributed on the next lecture day ("deadline date") after the due date. Once solutions are distributed, no late problem sets can be accepted for credit.

Grading: The course grade will be based primarily on total points, on the following basis:

Hour test 120

Final exam 200

Homework 100

The mid-term test will cover the first part of the course, the static and thermal properties of perfect lattices. The final exam will cover the remainder of the course, plus unifying ideas that make connections with material from the first part.

Grades are computed using a "curve," about half A's and half B's, with C's only for those falling well below par. For students a little below a grade threshold, class participation and/or improving scores and/or good performance on all but one component of the total can create a boost to the higher grade.

Samples of tests from former years will be provided.

The only acceptable excuses for missing a test are those established by the university: religious holiday, illness, or an official university event. You will need a written note on official stationery to establish your excuse. The mid-term test will be during class time in late October. The final is scheduled for Monday, December 16, at 8:00 a.m.; unanimous written consent from all enrolled students is required to move the test to a later hour.

Office hours: After class, by arrangement, and to be announced.

Tentative Schedule





Sept. 3

Intro, 2D Bravais

Sept. 5


3D Bravais

Sept. 10

7 (112-113),5

7 (rest)

Symmetries; quasicrystals; reciprocal lattice

Sept. 12

5, 6 (96-100,105-108)

6 (100-104)

1st BZ, Miller indices, lattice planes, x-ray diffraction (Bragg, Laue conditions), structure factor

Sept. 17

19, 20

Classification of solids, cohesive energy

Sept. 19



Cohesive energy, failure of static lattice

Sept. 24


Classical harmonic lattice in 1D

Sept. 26

22 (422-442)

Lattice modes, classical harmonic 3D lattice (No elastic'y)

Oct. 1

23 + (143-145)

Quantum theory of harmonic lattice: phonons, DOS

Oct. 3

23, 24 (470-480)

Measuring phonons, Raman

Oct. 8

24 (481-2), 25

Anharmonic lattices, thermal expansion,

lattice thermal conductivity, Umklapp

Oct. 10


Drude model, electron thermal conductivity

Oct. 15


Sommerfeld model

Oct. 17


Sommerfeld expansion, conductivity

Oct. 22



Bloch's theorem, crystal momentum

Oct. 24


Oct. 29

9 (152-166)

Nearly-free electron model

Oct. 31

9, 10

Tight-binding model

Nov. 5

11 (192-193, 206-209)+ H

Computing band structure, OPW, pseudopot., DFT, LDA, LSDA, GGA, total energy

Nov. 7

12 (214-233)

Semiclassical dynamics, eff. mass, holes

Nov. 12

13 (244-248)

Relaxation-time approx.

Nov. 14

14 (264-275)

de Haas-van Alphen, Landau levels

Nov. 19

17 (330-343)

17 (rest)

Correlation effects

Nov. 21

26 (512-515) 28 (562-571)

26 (519-523)

Phonons in metals, tidbits

Semiconductors: gap, eff. mass

Nov. 26

28 (572-580)

Semiconductors: MB statistics, hydrogenic levels

Nov. 28


Dec. 3

33 ( 694-6, 701-7)


Spin waves (classical), magnons-DOS, domain walls

Dec. 5

18 + H

Surface effects, work function, LEED, FIM

Dec. 10


reconstruction, steps, roughening

Dec. 12

Surface states, catalysis, odds & ends, review

No superconductivity, no pn junctions, no critical phenomena, little magnetism

Updates on course web site