Physics 880.06: Condensed Matter Physics (Fall, 2003)

[ Introduction and General Format | Syllabus ]
[Office Hours; Grader| Useful Concepts and Random Information]
[ Problem Sets |Problem Set 1 |Problem Sets 2 through 9 ]
[Term Project]

Introduction and General Format

Physics 880.06 is the first quarter of a three quarter sequence on Condensed Matter Physics. The main text for the first two quarters will be Ashcroft and Mermin, ``Solid State Physics'' (Saunders, 1976). Some supplementary material will be drawn from Michael P. Marder ``Condensed Matter Physics'' (Corrected Printing, Wiley Interscience, 2000), and Chaikin and Lubensky, ``Principles of Condensed Matter Physics,'' (Cambridge U. P., 1995). The third quarter will probably be devoted to a single special topic.

Suggested background includes quantum mechanics and electricity and magnetism at the undergraduate level. Some background in undergraduate statistical physics would be useful, but will be developed as needed. The course should be accessible to many first year grad students and possibly even a very well prepared undergraduate. If you have questions about the needed background, please get in touch with me.

The course will meet MWF from 9:30 to 10:18 in Smith 3094. The instructor is David Stroud (email; telephone 292-8140; office Smith 4034).

Grading will be based on homework (about 50%) and a small project (about 50%). I will discard your grade on the lowest homework set. Grades will be distributed according to the usual scale for 880xx courses.


Topics for fall quarter will include Drude and Sommerfeld free-electron theory of metals, crystal lattices, the reciprocal lattice, methods for measuring crystal structures (X-ray and neutron diffraction), electronic states in a periodic potential, methods for calculating electronic structure, band structure of selected solids, the classical and quantum theory of the harmonic lattice, and, if time permits, the semiclassical theory of electron dynamics and electronic conduction.

Office Hours, Grader

My office hours will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 - 11:30, and by appointment.

The grader is Dr. Sung Yong Park (email:

Random Information

A Few Useful concepts

o Paul Drude

o Arnold Sommerfeld

o Felix Bloch

o Leon Brillouin

o William H. Bragg

o William Lawrence Bragg

o Billy Bragg

Problem Sets

Problem Set 1

Due Friday, October 3, 2003

1. Ashcroft and Mermin, Chapter 1, Problem 4 (a), (c), and (d).

2. Consider a small spherical metal particle (``small'' meaning of radius much less than a wavelength). Show that the ``surface plasmon frequency'' (i. e. the natural frequency of oscillation) of an electron gas in such a small particle is \omega_p/\sqrt{3}, where \omega_p is the bulk plasma frequency.

Hint: assume that the electron gas is immersed in a uniform positive background, and calculate the restoring force when the electron gas is displaced a small amount from equilibrium.

3. Using typical resistivity values of metals, and typical electron densities, estimate the dimensionless parameter \omega_p\tau for a typical metal around room temperature.

Note: each homework problem is worth 10 points, unless otherwise specified.

Problem Sets 2 through 9

Problem Set 2

Problem Set 3

Problem Set 4

Problem Set 5

Problem Set 6

Problem Set 7

Problem Set 8

Problem Set 9

Term Project