You are here

Seminars in Condensed matter physics


Thursday, 9 January 2020 to Monday, 29 June 2020
Total hours: 50
Hours of lectures: 24
Hours of supplementary teaching: 26

Examination procedure

  • Report or seminar


Previous knowledge at the level of an introductory course in condensed matter physics is required.


The course will cover selected topics in condensed matter physics. It will include the following series of lectures on:  

Quantum transport in nanostructures, Fabio Taddei (NEST, NANO-CNR & SNS) –  6 hours (Jan.-Mar. 2020).


1. Theory of coherent charge transport - the scattering formalism: derivation of the current, conductance quantization.

2. Normal/superconductor interfaces - Bogoliubov-de Gennes equation, Andreev processes.

3. Charge and heat transport in hybrid systems - significant examples, multiple scattering formula. 


- Y. V. Nazarov and Y. M. Blanter, Quantum Transport, Cambridge University Press, 2009


The following series of lectures  is part of (didattica integrativa)

Introduction to photovoltaic cells, Lucio C. Andreani (Department of Physics, University of Pavia)  – 10 hours. 


1. Basics, IV characteristics, solar spectrum, ultimate efficiency and Shockley-Queisser limit

2. Thermodynamic of radiation, thermodynamics limit (Carnot, Landsberg, multicolor, detailed balance)

3. p-n junction solar cells (basic theory, role of quasi Fermi levels, emission in a semiconductor under illumination)

4. Photonics for photovoltaics, Lambertian limit, electronic transport & efficiency limits

5. Technology overview & the energy problem 


Coherent superconducting devices, Francesco Giazotto (NEST, NANO-CNR & SNS) –  6 hours.

1. Coherent heat transport in superconducting devices
2. Field effect transistor with superconductors
3. Quantum thermal machines with superconducting devices
Introduction to computational solid state physics, Paolo Giannozzi (Department of Physics, University of Udine) - 10 hours (Jan.-Feb. 2020).


1. Reminder: Born-Oppenheimer and Hartree-Fock approximations. Density-functional theory: Hohenberg-Kohn theorem, Kohn-Sham equations,  local-density approximation.

2. Beyond LDA: generalized gradient approximation. Advanced functionals for weakly bonded and strongly correlated materials. The band gap and self-interaction problems.

3. Potential energy surface: Hellmann-Feynman forces, first-principle  molecular dynamics and structural optimization. Self-consistency and  global minimization. Practical DFT calculations: plane-wave basis set,  pseudopotentials, sum over k-points, supercells.

4. Phonons: expansion of the energy functional, 2n+1 theorem, linear response, monochromatic perturbations, macroscopic electric fields,  interatomic force constants.

5. First-principle molecular dynamics: classical MD, Verlet algorithms,  Car-Parrinello lagrangian, fictitious electron dynamics, comparison with Born-Openheimer dynamics.


The course will also include a selection of research talks that will be announced during the year and a series of seminars given by the students themselves. First year PhD students should present a seminar on a topic related to the lectures by Fabio Taddei, Lucio Andreani, Francesco Giazotto o Paolo Giannozzi, while second year PhD students should present a seminar on a topic related to their PhD research project. Such seminars will also serve as a proficiency test for the course.


Educational goals:

To get acquainted with selected advanced topics in condensed matter physics through series of lectures. To learn about current research efforts via tutorial and topical seminars.

Bibliographical references

Y. V. Nazarov and Y. M. Blanter, Quantum Transport, Cambridge University Press, 2009