Solid state physics

lphys1345  2018-2019  Louvain-la-Neuve

Solid state physics
4 credits
30.0 h + 22.5 h
Bruno Giacomo; Delaere Christophe;
LPHYS1241 or equivalent teaching unit from another programme. Having followed LPHYS1342 and having followed and passed LPHYS1221 are assets.

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
This teaching unit is an introduction to solid state physics. As such, we will deal with the different thermal and electric properties of solids. We will focus upon the application of basic concepts to semi-conductors (micro-electronic and technical applications for detecting charged particles) and to superconductivity.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


a.     Contribution of the teaching unit to the learning outcomes of the programme


AA1 : 1.1, 1.4, 1.6

AA2 : 2.4

AA3 : 3.2, 3.5

AA6 : 6.3, 6.4.


b.     Specific learning outcomes of the teaching unit


At the end of this teaching unit, the student will be able:


  1. to identify the main crystalline structures and their symmetries, both for the spatial and reciprocal networks;
  2. to compare the different types of crystalline bonds;
  3. to apply analytical mechanics to periodic structures to deduce their thermal properties;
  4. to describe the vibrations of a crystal in terms of phonons;
  5. to apply statistical mechanics to a gas of electrons to deduce their thermal and electrical properties;
  6. to establish how a periodic potential produces an energy band structure;
  7. to deduce the properties of semi-conductors in the solids band structure;
  8. to explain the behaviour of a diode and a transistor starting from the properties of semi-conductor crystals;
  9. to discuss the properties of superconductors in the light of different phenomenological and/or microscopic models.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
  • Crystalline structure. Reciprocal network. Crystalline bond and elastic constants.
  • Phonons: network vibrations and thermal properties.
  • Fermi's gas of free electrons, quasi-free electrons, energy bands.
  • Semi-conductor crystals: basic properties and devices (diode and transistor).
  • Superconductivity: experimental facts and theoretical approaches.
Teaching methods
Lectures with short hands-on  learning  activities (e.g.: supervised questions, citing applications, '). Exercises on Moodle.
Individual exercise sessions  which are supervised ' Practical experiments.
Evaluation methods
Oral exams including immediate preparation questions, preparation on a subject chosen by the student and unprepared discussion on the two previous points.
Charles Kittel,Physique de l'état solide, EAN13 : 9782100497102
David L. Sidebottom,Fundamentals of Condensed Matter and Crystalline Physics, ISBN: 9781107017108
Neil William Ashcroft et N. David Mermin, Physique des solides, ISBN : 2-86883-577-5
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Physics

Minor in Physics