327-0407-01L  Materials Physics I

SemesterAutumn Semester 2018
LecturersP. Gambardella
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


327-0407-01 VMaterials Physics I3 hrs
Tue08:45-11:30HCI D 8 »
P. Gambardella
327-0407-01 UMaterials Physics I2 hrs
Thu12:45-14:30HCI J 8 »
12:45-14:30HPK D 24.2 »
P. Gambardella

Catalogue data

AbstractThis course introduces classical and quantum mechanical concepts for the understanding of material properties from a microscopic point of view. The lectures focus on the static and dynamic properties of crystals, the formation of chemical bonds and electronic bands in metals, and semiconductors, and on the thermal and electrical properties that emerge from this analysis.
ObjectiveProviding physical concepts for the understanding of material properties:

Understanding the electronic properties of solids is at the heart of modern society and technology. The aim of this course is to provide fundamental concepts that allow the student to relate the microscopic structure of matter and the quantum mechanical behavior of electrons to the macroscopic properties of materials. Beyond fundamental curiosity, such level of understanding is required in order to develop and appropriately describe new classes of materials for future technology applications. By the end of the course the student should have developed a semi-quantitative understanding of basic concepts in solid state physics and be able to appreciate the pertinence of different models to the description of specific material properties.
ContentPART I: Structure of solid matter, real and reciprocal space

The crystal lattice, Bravais lattices, primitive cells and unit cells, Wigner-Seitz cell, primitive lattice vectors, lattice with a basis, examples of 3D and 2D lattices.

Fourier transforms and reciprocal space, reciprocal lattice vectors, Brillouin zones

Elastic and inelastic scattering of elementary particles with matter (x-rays, neutrons, electrons). Interaction of x-rays with matter. X-ray diffraction, Bragg condition, atomic scattering factors, scattering length, absorption and refraction.

PART II: Dynamics of atoms in crystals

Lattice vibrations and phonons in 1D, phonons in 1D chains with monoatomic basis, phonon in 1D chains with a diatomic basis, optical and acoustic modes, phase and group velocities, phonon dispersion and eigenvectors. Phonons in 2D and 3D.

Quantum mechanical description of lattice waves in solids, the harmonic oscillator, the concept of phonon, phonon statistics, Bose-Einstein distribution, phonon density of states, Debye and Einstein models, thermal energy, heat capacity of solids.

PART III: Electron states and energy bands in crystalline solids

Electronic properties of materials, classical concepts: electrical conductivity, Hall effect, thermoelectric effects. Drude model. Transition to quantum models and review of quantum mechanical concepts.

The formation of electronic bands: from molecules to periodic crystal structures.

The free electron gas: Fermi statistics, Fermi energy and Fermi surface, density of states in k-space and as a function of energy. Inadequacy of the free electron model.

Electrons in a periodic potential, Bloch's theorem and Bloch functions, electron Bragg scattering, nearly free electron model, physical origin of bandgaps, band filling. Energy bands of different types of solids: metals, insulators, and semiconductors. Fermi surfaces. Examples.

PART IV: Electrical and heat conduction

Dynamics of electrons in energy bands, phase and group velocity, crystal momentum, the effective mass concept, scattering phenomena.

Electrical and thermal conductivities revisited. Electron transport due to electric fields (drift) and concentration gradients (diffusion). Einstein's relations. Transport of heat by electrons, Seebeck effect and thermopower, Peltier effect, thermoelectric cooling, thermoelectric energy conversion.

PART V: Semiconductors: concepts and devices

Band structure: valence and conduction states. Intrinsic and extrinsic charge carrier density. Electrical conductivity. p-n junctions. Metal-semiconductor contacts. FET transistors. Transistors as switches and amplifiers.
Lecture notesin English, available for download at http://www.intermag.mat.ethz.ch/education.html
LiteratureC. Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics (Wiley, 2005), also printed in German. General text that covers most arguments from the point of view of condensed matter physics.
S.O. Kasap, Principles of Electronic Materials and Devices (McGraw-Hill, 2006). General text that covers most arguments from the point of view of materials science.
L. Solymar, D. Walsh, R.R.A. Syms, Electrical Properties of Materials (Oxford Univ. Press, 2014). Modern treatment of the electronic properties of materials, with examples of applications. The thermal properties of solids are not included.
J. Livingston, Electronic Properties of Engineering Materials (Wiley, 1999). Good text for providing intuitive understanding and perspectives.
D. A. Neamen, Semiconductor Physics and Devices (McGraw-Hill, 2012). General treatment of semiconductor physics and devices, including both basic and more advanced topics.
H. Ibach, H. Lueth, Solid-State Physics (Springer, 2003), available free of charge as ebook from the ETH library, also in German. General text that covers most arguments from the point of view of condensed matter physics.
Prerequisites / NoticePhysics I and II. Knowledge of basic quantum mechanical concepts. The lecture will be given in English. The script will be available in English.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
In examination block forBachelor's Degree Programme in Materials Science 2017; Version 28.01.2020 (Examination Block 5)
Bachelor's Programme in Materials Science 2015; Version 22.08.2017 (Examination Block 5)
ECTS credits5 credits
ExaminersP. Gambardella
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is offered every session. Repetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Mode of examinationwritten 180 minutes
Additional information on mode of examinationThe exam text will be in English and German.
Responses may be written in English, German, French, and Italian.
Written aidsNicht-programmierbarer Taschenrechner
If the course unit is part of an examination block, the credits are allocated for the successful completion of the whole block.
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

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Offered in

Materials Science BachelorExamination Block 5OInformation