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Course Information

Item PAP232 “Introduction to Solids”

Introduction to Solids

Course: PAP232 “Introduction to Solids”

Semester I  (2006/2007)



Dr. Yu Ting

SBS B3N-09

Division of Physics and Applied Physics

School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Tel: 63167899



Course Website:


Course Descriptions:

            A basic understanding of solids is important for practicing physicists in all areas of study, and for many other related disciplines as well. This course provides a basic understanding of what makes solids behave the way they do, how they are studied, and the basic interactions which are important. This course is provided as an elective for Physics majors, Applied Physics majors, and majors in other related disciplines.

            Traditionally, solid state physics is introduced relatively late in an undergraduate physics course because a familiarity with quantum theory, and in particular, the Schrödinger equation is required. However, since many aspects of solid state physics have important technological application, there is an increasing tendency to introduce the subject in the second year of an undergraduate course as a preparation for the advanced Solid State Physics modules which will be offered in the 3rd & 4th year.

            The main aim of this module is to give a description of crystal lattices, common crystal structures obtained by adding a basis of atoms to the lattice, and the definition and properties of the reciprocal lattice. Diffraction measurements are studied as tools to quantify crystal lattices, including Bragg's law and structure factors. The various types of atomic bonding, e.g., Van der Waals, ionic, covalent, metallic and hydrogen are surveyed. Models of crystal binding are generalized to include dynamics, first for classical lattice vibrations and then for quantized lattice vibrations known as phonons. These concepts are used to calculate the heat capacities of insulating crystals, to introduce the concept of density of states, and to discuss phonon scattering.



Course Outline:

(1) Crystal Structure

(a)     Periodic Array of Atoms

(b)     Fundamental Types of Lattices

(c)     Index Systems for Crystal Planes

(d)     Simple Crystal Structures

(2) Wave Diffraction and the Reciprocal Lattice

(a)     Diffraction of Waves by Crystals

(b)     Scattered Wave Amplitude

(c)     Brillouin Zones

(d)     Fourier Analysis of the Basis

(3) Crystal Binding

(a)     Crystals of Inert Gases

(b)     Ionic Crystals

(c)     Covalent Crystals

(d)     Metals

(e)     Hydrogen Bonds

(f)       Atomic Radii

(4) Phonons I. Crystal Vibrations

(a)     Vibrations of Crystals with Monatomic Basis

(b)     Two Atoms per Primitive Basis

(c)     Quantization of Elastic Waves

(d)     Phonon Momentum

(e)     Inelastic Scattering by Phonons

(5) Phonons II. Thermal Properties

(a)    Phonon Heat Capacity

(b)    Anharmonic Crystal Interactions

(c)    Thermal Conductivity


Course Meeting Time

Lectures: 32 sessions for 13 weeks. 1 hour per session. Wednesday (once every two weeks and held on the odd week) 16:30 to 17:30 at TR41; and Friday 10:30 to 12:30 at TR42.


Tutorial: 7 sessions. Once every two weeks and held on the even week. 1 hour per session. Wednesday 16:30 to 17:30 at TR41.




Appointment by Email


Course Pre-Requisites


PAP113: Optics and Waves




The following textbook is strongly recommended: You are expected to read through the relevant material before each lecture and complete a quiz in class.


Charles KIttel, “Introduction to Solid State Physics”, 8th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2005


Optional Supplemental Readings


H.M. Rosenberg, “The Solid State, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press Inc. New York, 1988

Richard Turton, “The Physics of Solids”, Oxford University Press Inc. New York, 2000




There will be six sets of tutorial problems. You will have two weeks to complete each assignment. Solutions will be available on the course site at edveNTUre the morning after the problem sets are due. Your solutions will be graded and returned during lecture as soon as possible.



·           A ONE hour mid-term examination will cover materials from L0 to L16.

·           A two and a half hour final examination will cover materials from lecture 1 to lecture 33.




Problem sets and quizzes 15%, mid-term exam 25%, final 60%