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Condensed Matter Physics


Thursday, 9 January 2020 to Monday, 29 June 2020
Total hours: 50
Hours of lectures: 18
Hours of supplementary teaching: 32

Examination procedure

  • oral exam


The course is available for students of the 4th and 5th year and is open to PhD students.


0) (Optional preliminary tutorial introduction) - Thermal equilibrium and statistical distributions. Types of solids. Free electron model of metals. Phonons. Electronic energy bands and Bloch wavefunctions.

1) Electronic states and bands in bulk solids and semiconductor heterostructures: single-band approximation,  envelope function approximation,  effective mass approximation. Multiband envelope function approximation: Luttinger-Kohn hamiltonian. Carrier statistics. Electron transport, semiclassical dynamics, electron mobility. Semiconductor heterostuctures; superlattices, quantum wells. Transport in superlattices, resonant tunnelling diodes and transistors.

2) Optical properties of solids: the dielectric function; optical properties of metals; optical properties of insulators and semiconductors; excitons, polaritons, plasmons.

3) Optical properties of semiconductor heterostructures: absorption and intersubband transitions. Superlattice and quantum-cascade lasers. Photonic crystals, quasi crystals and random structures. Radiation detectors and 2D nanotransitors.

4) Superconductivity (experimental phenomenology, BCS theory, Ginzburg-Landau theory, type I and II superconductors, Josephson effect).


Educational goals:

Become familiar with the fundamental concepts of condensed matter physics, with particular attention to electronic, optical and transport properties, both in bulk and reduced dimensionality systems.

Bibliographical references

J.M. Ziman, Theory of solids, Cambridge University Press

P.Y. Yu and M. Cardona, Fundamentals of Semiconductors, Springer

S. Datta, Quantum Phenomena. Addison Wesley

J. Faist, Quantum Cascade Lasers, Oxford University Press

M. Tinkham, Introduction to Superconductivity, Dover Publications