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Course catalogue

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Master SERP+ Programme - cohort 2020-2025

Introduction to Solid State (6 ECTS)


The course consists of frontal lectures as well as laboratory trainings

Theoretical part: frontal classes

Condensed Matter and Quantum mechanics:

  • Failure of classical mechanics in the description of condensed matter.
  • Properties associated with the discreteness of matter: normal modes and phonons.
  • Concept of wavevector, its quantization in on the lattice and phonon density of states.
  • The heat capacity of a solid: Einstein and Debye models.
  • Chemical bonds, unit cell and symmetry properties.
  • Concept of direct and reciprocal space.
  • Probing the crystal lattice: scattering of electrons, neutrons and X rays off three and two-dimensional lattices.

The electronic and optical properties:

  • Free electron gas in electric and magnetic fields.
  • Fermi Dirac statistics and the specific heat of an electron gas.
  • The Fermi energy, wavevector and surface of a solid.
  • The band structure and the single particle approximation for the valence electrons.
  • Dielectric response function, plasmon and surface plasmon.
  • Photoemission spectroscopy and work function.
  • The tight binding model: valence and conduction bands, metals, semiconductors and insulators. Electrons and holes , and their ffective mass.
  • Doping of semiconductor, semiconductor junctions and devices.


  • The various magnetic properties of a solid: para, dia, ferri and ferro-magnetism.
  • The magnetism of conduction electrons: Pauli paramagnetism and Landau diamagnetism.
  • Magnetic anisotropy, magnetic domains and hysteresis.
  • Understanding magnetism: Heisenberg Hamiltonian and Hubbard model for ferromagnetism.



  • The superconducting state, critical temperature, current and magnetic field
  • The mechanism of correlation: Cooper pairs and the formation of the energy gap
  • BCS theory and the Bose condensate

Laboratory training:

  • Vibrational properties of a swinging string and resonance properties of diapasons.
  • The resonance conditions in electronic circuits.
  • Diffraction of light from a one and a two dimensional lattice.
  • Low energy electron diffraction from a crystalline surface.
  • Measurement of the Hall effect.
  • Measurement of the threshold frequency in photoemission.

Achieving a thorough understanding of the properties of solids at the microscopic level. Students will master the concepts of crystal lattice, lattice dynamics, and electronic band structure. The correlations of crystal lattice and bandstructure with a) , dielectric response and electronic excitations and, b) metallic, semiconductor and insulator behavior will be highlighted. The effects of electronic correlation will be introduced to explain the magnetic properties and excitations, as well as the origin of metallic, semiconductor and insulatorsuperconductivity. Lattice dynamics, excited electronic states behavior and optical properties will be discussed. Experimental as well as theoretical characterization methods will be introduced. The main physical synthesis and functionalization techniques will be discussed.


Mathematics: Solution of linear and differential equations. Fourier analysis.

General Physics: Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics, and Waves.

Quantum Mechanics: quantum state and quantum numbers for a well and for an atom, Hamiltonian and Schroedinger equation, harmonic approximation, Heisenberg indetermination and Pauli exclusion principle, and perturbation theory.

Recommended Books


  • Steve, H. Simon: Lecture notes for Solid State Physics for all topics up to magnetism
  • H. Ibach, H. Lueth Solid State Physics for dielectric theory and superconductivity
  • Additional material will be provided by the lecturer.

Teaching Staff

Prof. Mario Rocca


Lectures: 40 hours
Laboratory: 20 hours

Student hours for the students 90h.

Grading System

Laboratory reports 20%
Final oral exam: 80%