Condensed Matter Physics - PHYS6060

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Emma Pugh checkmark-circle


To provide an introduction to solid state physics. To provide foundations for the further study of materials and condensed matter, and details of solid state electronic and opto-electronic devices.
Interaction potential for atoms and ions. Definitions, crystal types. Miller indices. Reciprocal lattice. Diffraction methods.
Dynamics of Vibrations.
Lattice dynamics, phonon dispersion curves, experimental techniques.
Electrons in k-space: metals.
Free electron theory of metals. Density of states. Fermi-Dirac distribution. Band theory of solids - Bloch's theorem. Distinction between metals and insulators. Electrical conductivity according to classical and quantum theory. Hall effect.
Band structure of ideal semiconductor. Density of states and electronic/hole densities in conduction/valence band. Intrinsic carrier density. Doped semiconductors.
Definitions of dia, para, ferromagnetism. Magnetic moments. General treatment of paramagnetism, Curie's law. Introduction to ferromagnetism.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 27
Private study hours: 123
Total study hours: 150


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: (10hours, 15%)
Assignment 2: (10hours, 15%)
Examination (2 hour, 70%)

Indicative reading

Recommended Text:
Hook & Hall, Solid State Physics, Wiley [QC176]

Additional texts:
Kittel, Solid State Physics (7th Ed), Wiley, 1996 [QC176]
Ashcroft & Mermin, Solid State Physics, Holt-Saunders [QC176]

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Knowledge and understanding of physical laws and principles in Solid State Physics, and their application to diverse areas of physics.
An ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems in Solid State Physics, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
An ability to solve problems in Solid State Physics using appropriate mathematical tools.
An ability to use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour in Solid State Physics.
An ability to present and interpret information graphically.
An ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources as part of managing their own learning.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Have a knowledge and understanding of:
Problem-solving skills, in the context of both problems with well-defined solutions and open-ended problems. Numeracy is subsumed within this area.
Analytical skills – associated with the need to pay attention to detail and to develop an ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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