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Introduction to Solid State Physics


Admission Requirements

Admission requirements and any restrictions.
Statistical Physics 1, Quantum Mechanics 2 (in particular: Quantum Statistics: Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics, the free electrongas)


Brief introductory description of the course. Please include course subject and teaching materials used.
This course provides an introduction to Solid State Physics: the physics of matter in the solidified state. This part of condensed matter physics is very important in applications (e.g. electronic technology), but also studies and explains fundamental phenomena in and properties of solids. The following topics are treated: heat capacity of solids, electrons in metals, structure of materials, geometry of solids (crystal lattices), waves in crystals (reciprocal lattice).

Course objectives

At the end of the course knowledge and insight is obtained on the sturcture and properties of solids. One is able to perform calculations and derivations within the theoretical descriptions. In particular, skills and knowledge can be applied to the following topics:

  • why and how a classical description (Boltzmann, Drude theory) has to be replaced by a quantummechanical one (Einstein/Debye, Sommerfeld theory)

  • how the structure of materials arises (the periodic system, chemical bonding)

  • the description of (three-dimensional) crystals in terms of lattices (unit cell) and reciprocal lattices (Brillouin zones)

  • waves in lattices

  • electrons in a periodic potential (Bloch theorem, band structure)
    Finally, one is up to date, in a qualitative sense, with modern challenges in Solid State Physics: high-temperature superconductivity, metal-insulator transitions, quantum Hall effects, topological matter.



Mode of instruction

Lectures, problem sessions

Assessment method

Written exam (closed book) with open questions.


Material and communication concerning the course is provided via Blackboard.
To have access to Blackboard you need a ULCN-account.Blackboard UL

Reading list

Textbook: The Oxford Solid State Basics – Steven H. Simon (Oxford University Press, 1st edition, 2013; reprint 2016) (mandatory), ISBN 978-0-19-968077-1 (Pbk.). This book is also used in the third year elective course The Electronic Structure of Solids


Contactgegevens Docent:Dr.Peter Denteneer