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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS3422 Magnetism in Condensed Matter

15 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Thomas Moore

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

PHYS 3421 Magentism in Condensed Matter

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Magnetic materials underpin much of modern technology and thus our everyday lives, from electric motors to data storage, sensors and computing. An understanding of magnetism in condensed matter requires knowledge in several areas of physics to be brought together, including classical and quantum mechanics, statistical physics and condensed matter physics. The first half of this course focuses on the theory of ferromagnetism, while the second half uncovers the physics behind the applications, such as permanent magnets and spin electronics.


On successful completion of this module a student will have demonstrated the ability to:
- describe the quantum mechanical nature of the molecular field: the exchange interaction;
- recognise the necessity of anisotropy for stable ferromagnetism;
- recall the origin and consequences of the demagnetising field;
- discuss domains and simple micro-magnetics;
- recall the consequences of magnetism on transport properties of materials;
- describe current issues in ultrathin film magnetism
- describe current issues in magnetic heterostructures and devices;

Skills outcomes
Problem modelling and solving


Introduction to basic concepts. Measurements of magnetisation. Exchange and Heisenberg Hamiltonian. antisymmetric exchange. Magnetisation vs. temperature: Molecular field, Stoner model, magnons, critical regime. Anisotropy and Superparamagnetism. Stoner-Wohlfarth particles. Origins of anisotropy. Exchange anisotropy. Magnetostatic self-energy and demagnetising factors. Shape anisotropy. Domain structures and domain walls. Simple micromagnetics. Magnetization dynamics. Permanent magnets and energy products. Low-dimensional ordering, perpendicular anisotropy. Spin-dependent band structures - spin-dependent transport. Anisotropic, giant, and tunnelling magnetoresistance. Spin torque. Magnetotransport measurements. Spin-valves, magnetic tunnel junctions, read-write heads and MRAM.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours126.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Workshops and regular homeworks

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentFormative coursework0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)0.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 30 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Students will have to complete an in-person exam at the end of the module. This will take place during the examinations period at the end of the semester and will be time bound. Students must submit a serious attempt at all assessments for this module, in order to pass this module.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:31:38


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