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

Fall 2005

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

Instructor: Prof. Ted Einstein

Office: Physics Bldg. , Room 2310; 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 2006 with Physics 798S (presuming it will be offered!), which will discuss superconductivity (esp. high Tc), so this will not be covered in Physics 731. Physics 731 will treat low-dimensional systems (surfaces, nanotubes, etc.), basics of semiconductors, etc. However, we are mindful that previous attempts to cover a large amount of material in one semester has proved frustrating to both students and instructors!

Time; Place: Tuesdays 2:00-3:25; Thursdays 3:15-4:30; Physics Bldg., Room 4220

Teaching Assistant/Grader: Tim Stasevich

Text: Solid State Physics, N. W. Ashcroft and N. D. Mermin (Saunders...-> Brooks Cole, 1976; ISBN 0030839939)--see reference list. This is a wonderful text but is a quarter century old. (It is nonetheless outrageously priced, so look for a used copy locally or online.) Students planning 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/posted on the next lecture day ("deadline date") after the due date. Thereafter, no late problem sets can be accepted for credit. If we do not get a TA for this course, then

Grading: The course grade will be based primarily on total points, on the following basis if we have a TA:

Hour test ~29%

Final exam ~46%

Homework ~25%

The mid-term test will cover the first part of the course, the static and thermal properties of perfect lattices, and electronic properties of "jellium". 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 19, 10:30 a.m.

Office hours: After class, by arrangement (email or phone), and to be announced.

Tentative Schedule: to be posted soon; look at Fall 2002 and 2004 sites for a rough idea

Sept. 1 4  

Intro, 2D Bravais

6 4,7(112-113) 7 (rest)

3D Bravais: primitive cell, Wigner-Seitz cell, basis, symmetries

8 5  

Reciprocal lattice, 1st BZ, Miller indices, lattice planes

13 6(96-100,105-108) 6 (100-104)

relaxation/reconstruction, x-ray diffraction (Bragg, Laue conditions), Ewald construction, structure factor

15 19, 20(396-410)  

Classification of solids, packing fraction, ionic & covalent radii, cohesive energy, Madelung const, Evjen neutral shells

20 22(422-437) 21

Lennard-Jones, Morse, universal potentials; Failure of static lattice; Classical harmonic lattice intro & 1D

22 22(437-442),  

Lattice modes, classical harmonic 3D lattice (No elasticity)

27 23  

Quantum theory of harmonic lattice: phonons

29 23, 24 (470-480)  

DOS, Measuring phonons, Raman

Oct. 4    


6 24 (481-2), 25  

Anharmonic lattices, thermal expansion, lattice thermal conductivity, Umklapp

11 1  

Drude model, electron thermal conductivity

13 1,2  

Sommerfeld model (Lecture by Prof. H. D. Drew)

18 2,8  

Sommerfeld conductivity, Bloch's theorem, crystal momentum, start nearly-free electron model

20 9 3

Nearly-free electron model

25 10  

Tight-binding, computing band structure, OPW, pseudopot

27 11: figs 2&3 + 208-9  

Review based on questions; start semiclassical dynamics

Nov. 1    

Midterm (through Sommerfeld model, so covered parts of chaps. 1-7, 19-25)

3 12 (214-233)  

Semiclassical dynamics, eff. mass, holes

8 14 (264-275,278-9)  

Measuring Fermi surface, de Haas-van Alphen, Landau levels

10 28 15

Semiconductors: gap, eff. mass, MB statistics, hydrogenic levels

15 29  

Inhomogeneous semiconductors, pn junctions

17 29, 17  

Correlation effects, HF, exchange, Lindhard, DFT, LDA

22 Schofield  

Fermi liquids




31 (661-664,666); 32 (674-685, skim 686-688)


Pauli paramagnetism, Landau diamagnetism, exchange & Heisenberg model, spin-density-waves, Wigner crystal (done earlier), Hubbard model, Kondo model

Dec. 1 33 (701-708,715-721, skim 694-698); 26 (518-519)  

Heisenberg model ground state & spin waves; mean field theory, domains and domain walls; phonon modification of el-el int'n

6 34  

Superconductivity overview


Electron mean free path; surface effects, work function, LEED, STM, AFM, MFM, UPS, ARPES, EXAFS

13 26 (523-526,skim 519-522)   Electron-phonon interaction in metals & Bloch T^5 law
19     FINAL EXAM (10:30-12:30)

Omitting: quasicrystals, critical phenomena