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Solid State Physics

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction and a comprehensive view on modern solid state physics at an undergraduate level from the widespread basics to emergent fields of research which can be tackled at an elementary level (e.g. graphene). It emphasizes the fundamental aspects underlying quantum macroscopic phenomena in solids, which are present in most common materials of our daily life, metals, semiconductors, magnets. Each chapter will be illustrated by on-going research trends and/or applications (superconductivity, LEDs, magnetic memories,…).

Syllabus : " Solid State Physics "

- Lectures 40 hours, Tutorials 30 hours (1st Semester) -

(Agnès Barthélemy, Marcello Civelli, Philippe Mendels)

Chapter 1:
Basic model of metals: the free electron gas
General introduction : the need for approximations
Free electron gas: why ? Periodicity and screening
Energy levels, density of states, B.V.K. boundary condition
Statistical population: Fermi statistics, Fermi energy, specific heat, Pauli susceptibility, comparison with the classical ideal gas and localized paramagnetism
Scanning tunneling microscope
Quantization of levels in a magnetic field: quantum oscillations

Chapter 2:
Crystalline Solids
Structures: crystal lattice and primitive unit cell
From 1D to 3D: Bravais lattices
Diffraction by crystalline solids and reciprocal lattice
Diffraction in practice: lab. X-rays, synchrotron and neutron facilities, electronic microscopy: from formulas to hands on experiments
Beyond crystals: introduction to amorphous solids and soft matter

Chapter 3:
Electronic structure of solids
Electrons in a periodic potential: Bloch’s theorem
Tight binding approach (1D, 2D), electronic instability: Peierls transiton
The physics of graphene
Quasi-free electrons
Experimental studies of band structures: photoemission
Classification of solids

Chapter 4:
Dynamics of electrons
Back to simple models: Drude approach
Boltzmann equation
Dynamics of Bloch electrons: effective mass, holes

Chapter 5:
Electrons at the nanoscale
Coulomb blockade
Band tailoring: heterostructures

Chapter 6:
Semiconductors
General introduction: Silicium, Germanium, III-V and II-VI families
Carriers density: intrinsic semiconductors
Holes and electrons dynamics; conduction in an intrinsic semiconductor
Doped semiconductors
Towards applications: diode , LED, solar cells, …

Chapter 7:
After introducing the basic fundamental and applied concepts to get a comprehensive view on magnetic materials, the new field of spintronics will be presented. This novel electronics based on the spin rather than the charge was born in 1988 after the discovery of giant magnetoresistance in Orsay (A. Fert, Nobel Prize 2007)… It plays a central role in hard disks devices and has varied potential applications which will be reviewed such as novel non-volatile memories, non disispative spin transistors,radiofrequency nano-oscillators
Macroscopic equations in magnetism and experimental set-ups: susceptibility, torque, high fields
Origins of magnetism in condensed matter: localized moments (from atoms to solids, delocalized electrons, diamagnetism)
Paramagnetism of localized moments
Interacting moments: origin of the exchange interaction, Heisenberg Hamiltonian
Introduction to single molecule magnets
Mean field treatment of interacting magnetic systems: ferro-, antiferro-, ferrimagnetism
Collective excitations: spin waves; detection of spin waves: electronic resonance, neutron scattering
Local probes of magnetism
Magnetism and applications: domains, anisotropy, walls, magnets, modern tracks for magnetic recording
Introduction to spintronics and its applications

Recommended textbooks:

  • C. Kittel: Introduction to Solid State Physics (J. Wiley and Sons)
  • N. W. Ashcroft and D. M. Mermin: Solid State Physics (Brooks and Cole)
  • H. Alloul: Physics of Electrons in Solids (Springer)
  • M. T. Dove: Structure and Dynamics (O.U.P)
  • J. Singleton: Band theory and electronic properties of solids (O.U.P)
  • S. J. Blundell: Magnetism in condensed matter (O.U.P)

Course prerequisites and corequisites

The prerequisites are usually taught at the level of the third year of university.
In some cases, Statistical Physics is not. See below.
- Fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics. Book: Quantum Mechanics by C. Cohen-Tannoudi, B. Diu, F. Laloë (vol. I and II), Ed Wiley.
- Fundamentals of Statistical Physics. Book: Statistical Mechanics by K. Huang, Ed Wiley. Concepts of Statistical Physics needed for this course can be easily learnt in parallel.

Course concrete goals

On completion of the course students should be able to:

— Attend any specialized course related to materials science, nano-condensed matter at the level of the second year of Master with a good theoretical background in solid state physics
— Take more formal courses at the level of second year of Master covering advanced concepts used in Solid State Physics (M2 Fundamental Concepts in Physics)
— Have a strong background to follow GP year Minor Courses related to Condensed Matter Physics.