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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS3394 Quantum Matter

15 creditsClass Size: 90

Module manager: Prof Oscar Cespedes

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

Year running 2023/24

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.

Learning outcomes
Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of:
1. The physics of phonons and their contribution to the thermal properties of materials.
2. Electron interactions (e.g. Fermi liquid) and scattering mechanisms.
3. The origin of effects observed in, and applications of, semiconductors in device physics.
4. Nanoscale effects such as optical and electron transport properties of low dimensional systems.
5. Present scientific concepts, and results either orally or in extended formal scientific English with illustrations and figures and references to literature sources as necessary.

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

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours117.00
Total Contact hours33.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Reading, examples, consolidation: 117 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

3 x exercise sheets.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentAssignment (choice of report or presentation)20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

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 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

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. Resits will be in standard exam format.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:55:13


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