Condensed State Physics (F3230)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Topics covered on this module include:

Classification of solids

  1. Types of solids; classification of elements and compounds by physical properties
  2. Types of bonding
  3. Basic band theory of metals, electrical insulators and semiconductors

Crystal structures

  1. Crystals; unit cells and lattice parameters
  2. Bravais lattices; crystallographic basis; crystal axes and planes
  3. Cubic and hexagonal structures
  4. Reciprocal lattice

Diffraction by crystals

  1. Physical processes; Braggs law; atomic and geometrical scattering factors
  2. Diffraction crystallography

Lattice vibrations

  1. Thermal properties of electrical insulators: specific heat and thermal conductivity
  2. Vibrations of monatomic and diatomic 1-D crystals; acoustic and optical modes
  3. Quantisation of lattice vibrations; phonons
  4. Einstein and Debye models for lattice specific heat

The free electron model

  1. Classical free electron gas
  2. Quantised free electron model
  3. Specific heat of the conduction electrons
  4. Electrical and thermal conductivity of metals
  5. AC conductivity and optical properties of metals

Dielectric and optical properties of insulators

  1. Dielectric constant and polarisability
  2. Sources of polarisability; dipolar dispersion.


69%: Lecture
31%: Seminar (Class)


20%: Coursework (Report)
80%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 36 hours of contact time and 114 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.