402-0505-00L  Physics in the Smartphone

SemesterAutumn Semester 2018
LecturersB. Batlogg, M. Sigrist
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


402-0505-00 GPhysics in the Smartphone3 hrs
Thu16:45-18:30HIT J 52 »
B. Batlogg, M. Sigrist

Catalogue data

AbstractPhysics in today's high-tech smartphone. Examples: network topology and scratch proof glass, spin-orbit coupling - brighter displays, GPS and general theory of relativity, electromagnetic response of matter (transparent metals for displays, GPS signal propagation), light-field cameras, CCD and CMOS light sensors, physics stops Moore's law, meta-materials for antennas, MEMS sensor physics, etc.
ObjectiveStudents recognize and appreciate the enormous impact "physics" has on today's high tech world. Abstract concepts, old and recent, encountered in the lectures are implemented and present all around us.

Students are actively involved in the preparation and presentation of the topics, and thus acquire valuable professional skills.
ContentWe explore how traditional and new physics concepts and achievements make their way into today's ubiquitous high-tech gadget : the smartphone.
Examples of topics include:
network topology and scratch proof Gorilla glass,
spin-orbit coupling makes for four times brighter displays,
no GPS without general theory of relativity,
electromagnetic response of matter (transparent metals for displays, GPS signal propagation in the atmosphere),
lightfield cameras replacing CCD and CMOS light sensors,
physical limitations to IC scaling: the end of "Moore's law",
meta-materials for antennas,
physics of the various MEMS sensors,
etc., etc.,
Lecture notesThe presentation material and original literature will be distributed weekly.
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic physics lectures and introduction to solid state physics are expected.

This is a "3 hour" course, with two hours set for <tba>, and the third one to be set at the beginning of the semester.

An introductory event is planed in the first week of the term on Wednesday, September 19th - 17:45 in the room HIT K51. In this meeting we will fix the time of the usual lecture and we will distribute the topics for the presentations during the term. The tutors will briefly present each topics.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits6 credits
ExaminersB. Batlogg, M. Sigrist
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is offered every session. Repetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Mode of examinationoral 20 minutes
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

Moodle courseMoodle-Kurs / Moodle course
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


There are no additional restrictions for the registration.

Offered in

Physics Teaching DiplomaSpec. Courses in Resp. Subj. w/ Educ. Focus & Further Subj. DidacticsWInformation
Physics MasterSelection: Solid State PhysicsWInformation