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The electronic structure of solids

Vak 2017-2018

Admission Requirements

Introduction to Solid State Physics


This course centers the intriguing properties of electronic liquids in solids. We will learn what electronic states exist in crystals, specifically how the periodic potential gives rise to insulators, semiconductors, and metals. Special focus is given to the emergent quasiparticles, first of the ionic vibrations and then of the electronic bands. We will look at the special properties of semiconducting materials, magnets, and superconductors. Time permitting, we shall discuss some recently discovered special cases:
graphene and topological insulators.

The class is recommended especially if you want to pursue experimental or theoretical condensed matter physics.

Course objectives

The objective of this course are:
(i) to learn more about the electronic structure of solids
(ii) to lean how to think as a physicist
(iii) to see how insight into fundamental physics can lead to great technological progress, on the example of semiconductor physics
(iv) to get a taste of the frontier of physics with some recently discovered, still mysterious materials



Mode of instruction

Lectures (mostly chalk on blackboard + some discussions) and exercise classes

Course load

Assessment method

Written examination with short questions (100%).


Exercises and information about the class will be posted on blackboard.
To have access to Blackboard you need a ULCN-account.Blackboard UL

Reading list

For most of the class, we will follow the book “The Oxford Solid State Basics” by S.H. Simon (Oxford University Press). The library has unlimited electronic copies.


Contact details lecturer: Dr.M.P.Allan (Milan)