Spring 2024 - PHYS 861 G100

Introduction to Solid State Physics (3)

Class Number: 2322

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, Wed, Fri, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    PHYS 465 or equivalent, and PHYS 415.



Free electron theory, crystal structure, band theory, Bloch's theorem, electron dynamics, phonons, semiconductors. Course offered regularly.


1) Crystal Structures – Reciprocal Lattice and Diffraction

Exercise: X-ray and Neutron Scattering

2) Free electron Fermi gas and lattice vibrations

Exercise: Specific heat of Cu (copper)

3) Electronic structure of materials

  • Band structures
  • Collective Phenomena - Response functions, Kramers-Kronig relations, Fermi liquid theory

Exercise: Optical conductivity of simple metal (Au, Ag, Cu, or Al)

  • Metal - Conductivity of metals, Effects in magnetic fields, Thermal conductivity

Exercise: Shubnikov – de Haas oscillations

  • Semiconductor
  • Insulator
  • Superconductor - BCS theory

Exercise: Specific heat and magnetization of Pb (lead): Tc, entropy, Hc1, Hc2, and experimental verification of the predictions

4) Magnetism of materials

  • Dirac equation
  • Magnetic Hamiltonian
  • The static susceptibility of non-interacting and interacting systems
  • The dynamic susceptibility of weakly and strongly interacting systems

-Metal vs Insulator

-Diamagnetism and Paramagnetism

Exercise: The de Haas-van Alphen effect: Fermi surfaces and effective mass

-Ordering phenomena

Exercise: magnetic susceptibility of Gd-based compound, effective moment, Curie-Weiss law, magnetic ordering, etc.

5) Special Topics - Strongly correlated systems

  • Heavy Fermion
  • Topologically non-trivial band structures – Dirac and Weyl semimetal
  • Unconventional superconductor such as Cuprate superconductors 

Exercise: linear dispersion, non-saturating MR, Landau level, Landau fan diagram and Berry phase.

There may be departures from this outline depending on time and interests of the class.


Objectives: The primary goal of this course is to provide students with analytical skills for successfully attacking theoretical problems in condensed matter physics and applying the major conclusion to real materials.


  • Assignments 60%
  • In-Class participation and presentation 20%
  • Final group project 20%


Basic knowledge of undergraduate level Quantum Mechanics, Electrodynamics, and Statistical Mechanics.



No required text.  Instructor will provide detailed course notes and a reading list.

Recommended text lists: Ashcroft and Mermin, Solid State Physics; Charles Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics.

Required software: Mathematica, MATLAB, C++, Python, Origin, etc (any program) for graphics and data processing.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.