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Chemistry and Physics of Solids (CPS)


Admission requirements

Elective course for MSc Chemistry. Suitable for students interested in solid state chemistry and materials science.
For students with a BSc in MST or equivalent. Other candidates should have basic knowledge of solid state chemistry / physics.


This course deals with chemistry and physics of solids with emphasis on physical behaviour of materials. It begins with a brief survey of materials synthesis and preparation techniques which are often neglected in most solid-state physics texts. Chapter 2 discusses atomic packing and geometry, symmetry, space groups, reciprocal space etc., which are the basics of understanding the structure of crystalline solids. In the section on electron in solids (chapter 3), descriptions of electronic structure from the viewpoints of chemists (‘bonds’) and physics (‘bands’) are discussed and compared. Some important physical properties of solids, e.g. heat capacity, magnetism, dielectrics, superconductivity, luminescence, are dealt with in the remaining chapters (4-7).

Course objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • Will have knowledge of different forms of solid materials: their synthesis and structure determination based on diffraction techniques

  • Will understand the basics of electronic band theory and the differences of band structures between metals, semiconductors and insulators

  • Will learn the important physical properties of solids and theories to explain them

  • Will be familiar with some important materials and their applications in modern technology


Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and exercises

Assessment method

Written examination (100%)

Reading list

A.R. West, Solid State Chemistry And Its Applications, 1987, John Wiley & Sons (optional)
C. Kittel, Introduction to solid state physics, 8th ed. 2005, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-41526-X


Register for this course via uSis


Dr. Wen Tian Fu


According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.