Solid State Physics

Spring, 2012


Dr. Cain

9:30-10:20 am, MWF

Dana 153


Office: Dana 171


Text: Solid State Physics, 2nd edition, J. R. Hook and H. E. Hall

This course is an introduction to the field of solid state physics.  This subject area covers a wide variety of materials, devices and applications.  It is the largest research area in all of physics, and has numerous engineering aspects as well.  During this semester we will cover a wide variety of basic topics in solid state physics: crystal structure and diffraction; phonons and lattice vibrations; free electron theory and band structure; semiconductors, magnetic properties; and electrical properties.  When appropriate, we will also discuss devices and other applications of solids.  As with any other advanced physics course, we will cover the very basics that you would need to continue your study in this vast area of physics and engineering.

Reading: Please try to read the material before coming to class.  That way you will at least be familiar with the terminology and can ask good questions.  We can then spend more time in class on more interesting and informative activities.

Attendance: Class attendance will follow the College’s 25% rule.

Homework: You will have homework assignments that are regular problem sets and other assignments in between these times.  Some of these questions and problems will be from your text and some will be from other sources.  The assignments will be composed of group and individual questions and problems.  I encourage you to work together on the group questions and problems.  However, the work that you turn in must be your own.  Copying another student’s work from this class or using online or published solutions other than the ones in your text or those that we discuss together in my office is an honor code violation.  The word PLEDGED with your signature and the date signifies your acceptance of the honor code on that work.

We will also, if time permits, do three or four project-like homework assignments where we will investigate solid-state phenomena in a laboratory setting.  These will each replace one class period.

Reviews: There will be two take-home reviews.  These will be composed of a closed-book part with a fixed time limit and an open-book part that will have a longer time limit.  Tentative dates for the reviews are the week of February 27 (Chapters 1-3) and the week of April 16 (Chapters 4, 5, 7).

Exam:  The exam will be a cumulative take-home exam (including the material since the second review) during the self-scheduled exam period.  It will have a closed-book part and an open-book part.  It will be due by the end of the last scheduled exam period.

Grading: The course grade will be determined as follows:

                                                Problems                     25%

                                                Projects                       15%

                                                Reviews                      40%

                                                Exam                           20%

Schedule:  A rough outline of what we will cover this semester is given below.  We will cover parts of chapters 1-5 and 7-9, as well as look at some solid materials that are not mentioned in your text.  The sections to be covered will be announced when we begin a chapter.


Jan. 18 – Jan. 20

Introduction, Chapter 1

Jan. 23 – Jan. 27

Chapter 1

Jan. 30 – Feb. 3

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Project #1

Feb. 6 – Feb. 10

Chapter 2

Feb. 13 – Feb. 17
NO CLASS – Feb. 17

Chapter 2
Project #2

Feb. 20 – Feb. 24

Chapter 3

Feb. 27 – Mar. 2
NO CLASS – Feb. 29

Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Mar. 5 – Mar. 9

Spring Break

Mar. 12 – Mar. 16

Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Review #1 (Chap. 1-3)

Mar. 19 – Mar. 23

Chapter 5

Mar. 26 – Mar. 30

Chapter 5
Chapter 7
Project #3

Apr. 2 – Apr. 6

Chapter 7

Apr. 9 – Apr. 13

Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Apr. 16 – Apr. 20

Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Review #2 (Chap. 4, 5, 7)

Apr. 23 – Apr. 27
NO CLASS –Apr. 27

Chapter 9
Project #4

Apr. 30 – May. 4
No class Apr. 25

Chapter 9
Other materials

May 7 – May 9

Other materials

May 10

Reading day

May 11 – May 16

Final Exam