Physics U4500-55400 Syllabus Fall 2020

Physics 55400 CD (U4500 S)

Introduction to Solid State Physics

Fall 2020


Instructor:                            Prof. S. A. Vitkalov, CDI 1.382, 212-650-5460


Online Class schedule:                Mo, We 12:00-1:15

Online Office Hours:                     Mo, We 10:00 AM-11:00 pm

Textbook:                             “Introduction to Solid State Physics”

                                                 by Charles Kittel, Wiley, Eight Edition.

Supplementary material: “Principle of the Theory of Solids”/ by J. M. Ziman, Cambridge University Press 1972

Online lectures:                Online lectures are done via zoom on Mo, We 12:00-1:15

Recorded lectures are posted on Blackboard.    

Online Exams via Blackboard:            Midterm exam and final exam

Homework via Email:                                Eight assignments



Chapter 1      Crystal Structure (lattices, local atomic bonding units, crystal structures)

Chapter 2      Diffraction and the Reciprocal Lattice (diffraction, reciprocal lattices, structure factors, Bragg and von Laue descriptions of diffraction, Brillouin Zones))

Chapter 3      Bonding in Solids (covalent, metallic, ionic and van der Waals bonding, cohesive energies)

Chapter 4&5 Phonons (crystal vibrations, thermal properties, Debye and Einstein models, anharmonic effects)

Chapter 6      Free electron Fermi gas (1D, 2D and 3D electron systems, thermal and electrical properties, classical motion in magnetic field) 

Chapter 7      Energy bands (motion in periodic potential, Bloch functions, metals and insulators)

Chapter 8      Semiconductor Crystals (energy bands and energy gaps, effective mass, electrons and holes, doping, mobility, Hall effect)

Chapter 9      Fermi Surface (FS) and Metals (reduced and periodic zone schemes, Harrison construction of FS, electron transport, motion in quantizing magnetic field, Quantum Hall Effect)

Chapter 17    Surface and Interface Physics (surface crystallography, 2D electronic structures, transport in 2D electron systems, p-n junctions, heterojunctions, semiconductor lasers and light emitting diodes)

Chapter 18    Nanostructures (imaging techniques, electron structure of 1D and 0D systems, electrical transport in 1D and 0D systems)




Important information


Objective of course: This course will serve to introduce students to the field of solid state physics and material science. The course includes important areas of traditional solid-state physics describing electrical, thermal, acoustic and optical properties of solids and recent development in the field of low dimensional electron structures, where the quantum properties of condensed materials are significant. In addition, this course will serve as the stepping stone to more advanced graduate level courses on materials such as the quantum theory of solids and advanced materials engineering. A detailed list of course objectives is presented below.


Homework: Homework will be collected via Blackboard/emails during the semester.


Grades: Student grades will be based on the following components:

              Exams          (midterm + final)                 80%

              Homework assignments (8)                                 20%               

  Note that attendance and class participation are also critical for your success in this course.


Exams: There will be one midterm exam (75 min.) and a final exam (140 min.). No exam grades will be dropped and no make-ups will be given except in the case of documented illness.


Extra help: Students can obtain extra help in this course by meeting with me either during my office hours or at other mutually agreeable times via zoom. You are encouraged and expected to take advantage of all these opportunities.


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. be familiar with the relationship between lattice vibrations and phonons as well as the contributions of phonons to specific heat and thermal conductivity.

            5. understand the role that electrons play in electrical conductivity via the Drude model

6. be familiar with the free-electron model and the contribution of electrons to the specific heat

7. understand the role of the lattice potential in the development of energy gaps in the electronic energy band structure.

            8. recognize the characteristic properties of semiconductors, metals and insulators.

9. be familiar with the concepts of effective mass, electrons and holes, and doping of semiconductors.

10. be familiar with concept of Fermi surface (FS) in normal metals, understand quantum electron motion in strong magnetic field.

11. understand the roles of dimensionality and quantum confinement in determining the electronic properties of solids; be familiar with electron transport in quantum dots, quantum wires and 2D films.