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MATSE 413 - Solid-State Materials

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


The main course objective is to provide sufficient background for the understanding of fundamental phenomena in solid state materials that are based on the atomic level. First, a semi-quantitative description of the driving forces behind bond formation are discussed, followed by a mathematically rigorous description of periodic arrays and the introduction of the concept of reciprocal space. Lattice vibrations occurring in solid state materials are discussed and an introduction into quantum mechanics is given. The solution of the time-independent Schrödinger Equation for various problems relevant in nanostructured materials is presented and the motion of charged carriers in solid state materials is discussed. A semi-quantitative approach is taken how the electronic structure of isolated atoms is changed as they bond to form molecules and solids and emphasis is placed on how such bonding affects whether the resulting material will be a metal, an insulator, or a semiconductor. The goal of this course is to introduce and master the modern framework of solid state materials that describes materials phenomena at an atomic level, such as electronic band structure and electronic transport, the vibrational properties of solid state materials, and to prepare the audience for higher level quantum mechanical problems relevant to a more comprehensive understanding of the solid state.


When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • Classify bond types, interpret bond strengths from interatomic potentials, and relate macroscopic properties to their microscopic origin.
  • Identify Bravais lattice types and recall their symmetries, relate lattices to crystal structures, and construct reciprocal lattices for given Bravais lattices
  • Understand wave phenomena in solid state materials, explain fundamental vibration modes of crystals and interpret the dispersion relation of lattice vibrations in real crystals.
  • Understand the physical basics of quantized phenomena in solid state materials.
  • Predict outcomes of the photoelectric effect and blackbody radiation experiments and describe their application potential in Materials Science and their role in our daily life.
  • Identify the Schrödinger equation, recall the Postulates of Quantum Mechanics, recall the approach to solve quantum mechanical problems and the interpretation of their results for the standard quantum mechanical problems: the infinite quantum well, the finite quantum well, the tunnel effect.
  • Describe and analyze experiments to determine the electrical conductivity of metals and semiconductors

Required Materials

The materials listed here represent those that may be included in this course. Students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.

Required textbook

There is no required textbook for this course

Recommended textbooks

Safa O. Kasap: Principles of Electronic Materials and Devices, Mc Graw Hill Education 2018, ISBN 978-0-07-802818-2

John Sydney Blakesmore: Solid State Physics, Cambridge University Press 2004, ISBN 978-0521313919 (paperback)

Rolf E. Hummel: Electronic Properties of Materials(link is external), Springer 2011, ISBN: 978-1-441-98163-9

P. Hofman: Solid State Physics: An Introduction(link is external), Viley-VCH 2008, ISBN: 978-3-527-40861-0

C. Kittel: Introduction to Solid State Physics, John Wiley & Sons 2005, ISBN 0-471-41526-X

James D. Livingston: Electronic Properties of Engineering Materials, Wiley-VCH 1999, ISBN 0-471-31627-X


MATSE 201, MATH 220, MATH 230/231


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 8 - 10 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

Participation (10% of total course grade)

A portion of the final grade results from attendance of a first mandatory office hour as well as the submission of 8 "Muddiest Points" throughout the class. These two activities are designed to provide accessible points as well as for the instructor to ensure that students are not quietly struggling with the course material.

Homework (20% of total course grade)

There are 12 homework assignments, which will be available when you are working through the week's reading and activity assignments. 

Quizzes (50% of total course grade)

There will be 5 quizzes held throughout the summer to test your learning progress.

Final Exam (20% of total course grade)

There will be a cumulative final exam at the end of the course.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
Module 1: Bonding in Solids1Solid state materials
The origin of attractive interaction
Macroscopic properties
Homework 1
Module 1: Bonding in Solids2The covalent bond
The metallic bond
The ionic bond
Homework 2
Module 2: Atoms in Periodic Arrays3The atomic lattice
Symmetries in lattices and the atomic basis
Lattice planes and X-ray diffraction
Homework 3
Quiz 1
Module 2: Atoms in Periodic Arrays4The reciprocal lattice
From the direct to the reciprocal lattice
From Bragg's Law to the von Laue condition
Homework 4
Module 3: Lattice Vibrations5Oscillations and waves in crystals
Lattice vibrations
The monatomic chain
Homework 5
Quiz 2
Module 3: Lattice Vibrations6Lattice vibrations in real solids
The diatomic chain
Generalization to 3D solids
Homework 6
Module 4: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics7The need for a new theory: quantum mechanics
When waves behave like particles
When particles behave like waves
The quantum nature of matter
Homework 7
Quiz 3
Module 5: Quantum Mechanics in Materials8A way out of the dilemma: The Schrodinger equation
The postulates of quantum mechanics
The infinite quantum well
Homework 8
Module 5: Quantum Mechanics in Materials9Scattering at a potential steps
The tunneling effect
Homework 9
Quiz 4
Module 6: Electrons in Solid State Materials10The finite quantum well
Sketching wave functions
Homework 10
Module 6: Electrons in Solid State Materials11Electrical conduction
The classical Drude model
The Hall effect
Homework 11
Module 6: Electrons in Solid State Materials12The Sommerfield model
Electrical conduction: a semiclassical picture
The Kronig Penney Model
Homework 12
Quiz 5
Final Exam