General Syllabus Physics 55400

Physics 55400 (U4500)
Introduction to Solid State Physics

Designation: Elective course

Catalog description:
55400: Solid State Physics
Crystal structure and symmetry; crystal diffraction; crystal binding: phonons and lattice vibrations; thermal properties of insulators; free electron theory of metals; energy bands; Fermi surfaces; semiconductors; selected topics in superconductivity, dielectric properties, ferro-electricity, magnetism. 3 hours/week, 3 credits

Prerequisites: Physics 55100 or equivalent, e.g., Chem 33200 or Phys 32100
J.I. Gersten and F.W. Smith, The Physics and Chemistry of Materials, Wiley, 2001;
Web version of The Physics and Chemistry of Materials at

Course Objectives:
After successfully completing this course, students should be able to
1. recognize the 14 Bravais lattices and understand their relationship to common crystal structures
2. understand the different types of bonding in solids
3. understand how diffraction studies can aid in the determination of crystal structures; understand the usefulness of the reciprocal lattice
4. recognize the various types of disorder present in solids
5. be familiar with the relationship between lattice vibrations and phonons as well as the contributions of phonons to specific heat and thermal conductivity.
6. understand the role that electrons play in electrical conductivity via the Drude model
7. be familiar with the free-electron model and the contribution of electrons to the specific heat
8. understand the role of the lattice potential in the development of energy gaps in the electronic energy band structure.
9. recognize the characteristic properties of semiconductors, metals and insulators.
10. be familiar with the concepts of effective mass, electrons and holes, and doping of semiconductors.
11. understand the roles of dimensionality and quantum confinement in determining the electronic properties of solids.

Topics Covered:
1. Structure of crystals; Bravais lattices; lattice and basis of atoms; local atomic bonding units; packing fractions
2. Bonding in solids; covalent, metallic, ionic and van der Waals bonding; cohesive energy
3. Diffraction; reciprocal lattice; Bragg and von Laue descriptions of diffraction; structure factor
4. Order and disorder in solids; amorphous solids; localized and extended defects;
thermodynamics of defect formation
5. Phonons and lattice vibrations; monatomic and diatomic lattices; lattice specific heat and thermal conductivity
6. Electrons in solids; Drude theory; Hall effect; free electron model; electronic specific heat; Bloch’s theorem; energy gaps
7. Semiconductors; energy band structure; effective mass; electrons and holes; doping and defects; effects of dimensionality and quantum confinement
8. Selected topics in superconductivity, optical materials, magnetism and magnetic
materials, surfaces

Class schedule:
two 75 minute classes per week

Relationship of course to program outcomes:
The outcomes of this course contribute to the following departmental learning outcomes:
a. students will be able to synthesize and apply their knowledge of physics and
mathematics to solve physics-related problems in a broad range of fields in classical and modern physics, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics and statistical physics, optics, quantum mechanics, and experimental physics.
c. students will be able to communicate their knowledge effectively and in a professional manner, in both oral and written forms.
Person who prepared this description and date of preparation:
Frederick W. Smith,
December 12, 2006

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity can be found at…
This policy defines cheating as “the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise.” The CUNY Policy on plagiarism says the following about plagiarism (the CUNY Policy can be found in Appendix B.3 of the CCNY Undergraduate Bulletin 2007 -2009 as well as the web site listed above):
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:
1. Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
2. Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
3. Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
4. Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.
5. Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.
The City College Faculty Senate has approved a procedure for addressing violations of academic integrity, which can also be found in Appendix B.3 of the CCNY Undergraduate Bulletin.”