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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS3394 Quantum Matter

15 creditsClass Size: 90

Module manager: Dr Oscar Cespedes

Taught: 1 Sep to 31 Jan (adv yr), Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

Level 2 Physics or equivalent

Module replaces

PHYS3393 Quantum Matter

This module is not approved as a discovery module


At the end of this module you should be able to:
- discuss and evaluate the effects of the periodic lattice on electrons within a solid
- describe the physics of phonons (quantised lattice vibrations) and their effect in common material physics such as heat capacity and conductivity
- calculate scattering rates for electrons in metallic conductors due to phonons, impurities an electron interactions (Fermi liquid);
- understand the concept and physics of electronic quasiparticles.
- describe the principles of operation and calculate current voltage characteristics for simple semiconductor devices and lasers;
- use the physical principles for semiconductors to perform basic conceptual designs of electronic devices
- account for differences to the bulk, and perform calculations of, electron transport in nanoscale conductors and systems of reduced dimensionality.
- apply the knowledge in low dimensional physics to current research in the Quantum Hall effect, plasmon resonance and Coulomb blockade.
- understand the principles of ferroelectric materials.
- describe the phenomenology and classical understanding of superconductivity.

Skills outcomes
Ability to solve crystal structures and relate structural properties and functionality.


Outline Syllabus:

- Phonons: Dispersion relation, Einstein and Debye's models, contribution to the heat capacity and thermal conductivity, and electron-phonon scattering.
- Boltzmann's equation and Fermi's golden rule applied to electron scattering.
- Electron-electron interaction: The Hartree equations, screening effect, exchange interaction and the Fermi liquid.
- Physics of semiconducting devices.
- The 2-dimensional electron gas and the quantum Hall effect.
- Physics of low-dimensional (nanoscale) structures.
- Introduction to dielectrics and ferroelectrics, dielectric function of the electron gas and quasiparticles.
- Introduction to superconductivity.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Office Hour Discussions111.000.00
Private study hours124.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Reading, examples, consolidation: 124 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

3 x exercise sheets.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Oral PresentationOral Presentation33.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)66.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins34.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)34.00

Students must submit a reasonable attempt at all assessments for this module to pass this module.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 12/10/2020 15:48:24


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