PHYM003 Condensed Matter II 2024-25
Prof. S. Russo
Delivery Weeks: T2:01-11
Level: 7 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 76 students (approx)


The module will apply much of the core physics covered in PHY2021, PHY2024, and PHY3051 to novel systems and engage with fundamental electric, magnetic and optical phenomena in metals and dielectrics. The module illustrates and draws on research undertaken in the Department: studies of the metal-to-insulator transition, oscillatory effects in strong magnetic fields, optical and magnetic phenomena.

Module Aims

The module aims to develop understanding of effects that played a key role in the development of contemporary solid state physics and to provide a general description of its current trends. The different topics covered will be linked by the idea that electrons in solids can be treated as quasi-particles interacting with other quasi-particles: electrons, phonons, photons. In addition to electrons, other excitations in solids are considered, e.g. Cooper pairs, plasmons and polaritons.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Syllabus Plan

  1. Electrons in Solids
    1. Calculations of Band Stucture
      1. Tight-binding
      2. Comparison of tight-binding with the nearly-free electron model
      3. Brief introduction to other methods, e.g. LCAO, Pseudo-potentials, LMTO, LAPW
    2. Fermi Surface and Electron Dynamics in Metals.
      1. Construction of the Fermi surface and Fermi surfaces of some metals.
      2. Semiclassical model of electron dynamics. Electron motion in crossed magnetic and electric fields.
      3. Hall effect and magnetoresistance.
      4. Landau quantisation of the electron spectrum.
      5. Shubnikov-de Haas and de Haas-van Alphen effects, experimental conditions for their observation.
      6. Mapping of the Fermi surface in three-dimensional metals.
      7. Metal-to-insulator transition in three- and two-dimensional metals. Current situation in the field.
      8. Electron-electron interaction in metals: Fermi liquid
    3. Superconductivity
      1. Difference between 'ideal' metal and superconductor. Specific features of magnetic, thermal and optical properties of superconductors.
      2. Isotope effect. The concept of the Cooper pair and the outline of the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory.
      3. Josephson effects. High-temperature superconductivity.
  2. Electrons, Phonons and Photons
    1. Dispersion relation for electromagnetic waves in solids and the dielectric function of the electron gas.
    2. Plasma optics and plasmons.
    3. Dielectic function and electrostatic screening. Screened Coulomb potential.
    4. Phonon-photon interaction: polaritons.
    5. Electron-phonon interaction: polarons.
    6. Interband transitions
    7. Electron-hole interaction: excitons.
    8. Raman Spectra
  3. Quasiparticles in Low-dimensional Solids
    1. Excitons, plasmons, polarons, and polaritons
    2. Graphene
  4. Magnetic Properties of Solids
    1. Ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism.
    2. Spin waves and magnons.
    3. Giant magneto-resistance.

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
20×1-hour lectures 20 hours SLT
2×1-hour problems/revision classes 2 hours SLT
5×6-hour self-study packages 30 hours GIS
4×4-hour problem sets 16 hours GIS
Reading, private study and revision 82 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Guided self-study 5×6-hour packages Fortnightly 1-10 Discussion in class
0% 4 × Problems sets 4 hours per set Fortnightly 1-10 Solutions discussed in problems classes.
100% Final Examination 2 hours 30 minutes May/June 1-10 Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions.


The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

Supplementary texts:


Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules Condensed Matter I (PHY2024), Electromagnetism II (PHY3051) and Statistical Physics (PHYM001)
Co-requisite Modules none


Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment
Whole module Written examination (100%) 1-8 August/September assessment period

Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 22 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 128 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 0%
Written exams 100%
Practical exams 0%
Total 100%


IoP Accreditation Checklist
  • N/A
Availability MPhys only
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; Placeholder; Main; Topic placeholder; Specific; Option level; Level; Theory; Specific skill; Option; .
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised N/A