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

Fall 2007

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

Instructor: Prof. Ted Einstein

Office: Physics Bldg. , Room 2310; Phone: (301) 405-6147

e-mail: einstein (at)

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 2007 with Physics 798S (to be taught by Prof. H. Dennis Drew), which will discuss developments in magnetism and in superconductivity (esp. high Tc) and other strongly-correlated materials. However, Physics 731 will treat 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 2:30-3:45, Thursdays 3:15-4:30, room 4220; Physics Bldg.; the unconventional hours are to permit (and encourage!) attendance of the Condensed Matter Seminar (Thursdays at 2pm) and the Informal Statistical Mechanics Seminar (Tuesdays at 1:15pm) and Physics Colloquium (Tuesdays at 4pm). Hope the benefit outweighs any confusion or scheduling hassles.

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

Teaching Assistant/Grader: Anand Banerjee, aban (at), Physics Bldg. Room 3311. Contact him by email to make an appointment and/or discuss grading of homework.

Text: Primary: 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 3 decades old. (It is, nonetheless, outrageously and unconscionably (in my opinion) 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.

Secondary: Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics, vol. 1, Duan Feng and Guojun Jin, World Scientific, 2005; pb: 981-256-070-X, a very up-to-date presentation with lots of material about recent developments and only cursory discussion of such standard topics as phonons. Nice tables, figures, and references, but no problems.

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.

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 seems to be scheduled for Monday, December 17, 10:30 a.m. (presuming we get the slot for TuTh2-3:15).

How Phys 731 will be continued/completed in case of an emergency that will close UM for an extended period of time (UM-mandated syllabus item):

The above course outline will be followed using remote teaching to the extent possible in such a situation. Information on continuing course requirements will be posted on the course web page and/or sent by direct e-mail to all students. Students will be responsible for material/assignments disseminated in this way.
In the event that the university-maintained web pages and e-mail service disappear during the closure, the course content will be shortened as needed, and grades will be assigned based on work completed by that time. The grade of "incomplete" will not be used.
If the closure is extended, UM may deign to institute formal campus-wide policies to deal with the situation. Any such UM rulings will be followed, superseding the previous.

Tentative Schedule

(adapted from 2004; being updated) Unlabeled numbers in STUDY and SKIM columns indicate chapters from Ashcroft and Mermin; F numbers are chapters from Feng & Jin. Dates in red are rescheduled classes meeting on Fridays 3- 4:15, usual room.





Aug. 30

Intro, 2D Bravais

Sept. 4

4, 7 (112-113)

F0, 7 (rest)

3D Bravais, symmetries; quasicrystals

Sept. 6



Defects, reciprocal lattice,1st BZ, Miller indices, lattice planes, Ewald construction

Sept. 11

6 (96-100,105-108)

6 (100-104)

x-ray diffraction (Bragg, Laue conditions), structure factor

Sept. 14

19, 20

Classification of solids, cohesive energy, FIM

Sept. 18

20, start 22

21, F2.2

Cohesive energy, failure of static lattice, classical harmonic lattice in 1D

Sept. 20

22 (422-442)


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

Sept. 25

23 + (143-145)

Quantum theory of harmonic lattice: phonons

Sept. 27

23, 24 (470-480)

Debye model, DOS, measuring phonons, Raman

Oct. 2

24 (481-2), 25

Anharmonic lattices, thermal expansion

Oct. 4 class @2pm

Lattice thermal conductivity, Umklapp

Oct. 9


Drude model, electron thermal conductivity

Oct. 11


Sommerfeld model, Sommerfeld expansion

Oct. 16


No class (make-up Oct. 19, 3pm)

Oct. 18



Oct. 19



Bloch's theorem, crystal momentum

Oct. 23

9 (152-161)

Nearly-free electron model

Oct. 25

9 (162-166),10

Brillouin zones, tight-binding model

Oct. 30

Schönenberger, F2.2.4

11 (192-193, 206-209)

Graphene and nanotubes, OPW, pseudopot

Nov. 1

12 (214-233)


Semiclassical dynamics, eff. mass, holes

Nov. 6

13 (244-250); 16 (314-320)*


Motion in magnetic field, relaxation-time approx

Nov. 8

14 (264-275)

F6.3.2-6.3.3 (to eq. 6.3.53)

de Haas-van Alphen, Landau levels,

Nov. 13

31 (661-664); 26 (512-515)

26 (519-523), F8.1.3

Diamagnetism, Pauli paramagnetism, [phonons in metals (tidbits)]


Nov. 15

28 (562-580)

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

Nov. 20



pn Junctions

Nov. 22


Nov. 27

17 (330-343), F12.2 ; Thorne,Brown&Gruner

17 (rest); vanZeghbroeck 3.2

Metal-semiconductor interfaces; inversion layers; correlation effects, HF, exchange; HF, [screening], CDW & SDW, Lindhard, LDA, LSDA, GGA, total energy

Nov. 29

33 (694-709), Schofield (95-100,108-111)

A&M 17(345-351)

Wigner crystals, Fermi liquids, spin waves, magnons,

Dec. 4


DFT, application of DFT to surfaces

Dec. 6

18 + H

Surface effects, work function, LEED

Dec. 11

Zangwill scanned

STM, AFM, UPS, ARPES, surface states, catalysis, reconstruction, steps, roughening

Dec. 17, 10:30

Final exam

*Grosso and Paravicini, pp. 402-7, 414-8

Minimal superconductivity, no critical phenomena, little magnetism, little quasicrystals

Rescheduled to Friday

Last updated:Nov.14, 2007