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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2009 - 2010

Module Title Solid State Physics I
Module Code PS204
School School of Physical Sciences

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Tony CafollaOffice NumberN141
Level 2 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Module Aims
  • To Introduce the student to the structure of solids and diffraction techniques for structure determination.
  • To provide a basic grounding in thermal, electrical and magnetic properties of solids.

Learning Outcomes
Understanding of the basic concepts of the structure of crystalline solids. Understanding of the free electron theory explanation of the electrical properties of metals. Understanding of the origin of magnetic properties of solids. From a consideration of the de Broglie wavelength of an electron moving through a solid being diffracted, an understanding of the origin of energy bands. The distinction between metals, semiconductors and insulators from a consideration of the Fermi level position in the band structure and an understanding of how this leads to different electrical conduction properties. Simple introduction to magnetism and superconductivity.

Indicative Time Allowances
Lectures 24
Tutorials 6
Seminars 0
Independent Learning Time 45

Total 75
Assume that a 5 credit module load represents approximately 75 hours' work, which includes all teaching, in-course assignments, laboratory work or other specialised training and an estimated private learning time associated with the module.

Indicative Syllabus
  • CHEMICAL BONDING IN SOLIDS  Ionic, covalent and metallic bonding
  • STRUCTURE OF CRYSTALLINE SOLIDS Crystal structures. Miller indices. Bravais lattice. X-ray diffraction techniques.
  • MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF SOLIDS Young’s Modulus, Poisson’s Ratio, Bulk Modulus, elastic and plastic deformation.
  • INTRODUCTION TO THERMAL PROPERTIES OF SOLIDS Specific heat and thermal conductivity. Free Electron Theory of Metals. Electrical conductivity. Heat capacity. thermal conductivity of metals.
  • ELECTRONIC PROPERTIES OF METALS, CLASSICAL APPROACH Drude Model, Conductivity, Hall effect, Plasma Resonance. Wiedemann Franz Law. Failure of Drude Model
  • ELECTRONIC PROPERTIES OF METALS, QUANTUM APPROACH Origin of energy bands. Metallic Fermi level. Classical and quantum statistics. Classification of solids according to band theory.
  • INTRODUCTION TO SEMICONDUCTORS Electronic properties of semiconductors. Fermi level in semiconductors. Intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors. Semiconductor conductivity.
  • INTRODUCTION TO MAGNETIC PROPERTIES OF SOLIDS Diamagnetism. Paramagnetism. Ferromagnetism.
  • INTRODUCTION TO SUPERCONDUCTIVITY Zero Resistivity, The Meissner Effect, The Isotope Effect
Continuous Assessment20% Examination Weight80%
Indicative Reading List
Essential Text:
The Physics of Solids, Richard Turton, (Oxford University Press)


1. Elementary Solid State Physics by M. Ali Omar (Addison Wesley)
2. Elements of Solid State Physics by Rudden and Wilson (Wiley)
3. The Solid State by Rosenberg (OUP)
4. Introduction to Solid State Physics by Kittel (Wiley).
5. Solid State Physics, Hook and Hall, (Wiley).
Programme or List of Programmes
APBSc in Applied Physics
BSSAStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
ECSAStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECSAOStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
PFBSc in Physics with French
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)