Introduction to

Solid State Engineering ME265.03



Prof. Stefano Curtarolo

Room Hudson 229



Who can take:              undergrads and grads

Who should take:          students of materials science & students interested in nanotech.

Exams:                         3. Open-books, open-notes, open-homeworks OR take-home.

Homeworks:                 One every week. Several problems.

When:                          2:20 – 3:10 MWF

Where:                         nobody knows

Grading:                       problem sets 25%, exams 25% each.

Homepage:                   TBA


Conductivity and Bands

*       Origin of Ohm’s Law and Drude Model

*       Hall effect

*       AC response of electrons

*       Free electrons, plasma frequency, electromagnetic waves inside materials

*       Electrons as waves and diffraction, wave-particle duality

*       Bravais lattice, reciprocal lattice: structure factor

*       Electron waves in solids

*       Quantized electron energy: Boltzmann and Fermi-Dirac distributions

*       Density of states for electrons. Fermi Energy

*       Heat capacity


Quantum Mechanics stuff

*       Nearly free electrons in solids

*       Schrödinger Equation (introduction and justification)

*       Periodic systems: Block theorem. Symmetry and properties of solutions

*       Solution of SE in momentum space (Fourier)

*       Band gap, excitations


Atoms, molecules, and materials.

*       Hydrogen atom

*       Chemistry approach: tight-binding model

*       Bonding and building material atom by atom: Debye-Huckel model

*       Electronic structure and polymer chains

*       Hybridization

*       Metals and insulators

*       Band and Zones, carriers, effective masses



*       Intrinsic/extrinsic semiconductors

*       Electrical activity of defects

*       Hydrogenic model of extrinsic semiconductors

*       Carrier, scattering, recombination and generation: defects, traps

*       Drift diffusion and the continuity equations

*       Diode: depletion region, built-in voltage and operation

*       Electron in potentials: step, well, infinite well: quantum solutions

*       Transistor and FET


Dielectric and optical properties of materials.

*       Application of Maxwell’s equations to capacitance

*       Dielectric constant and polarizability

*       Dielectric response at optical frequencies

*       Local fields and Clausius-Mossotti relation

*       Orientational, electronical, and ionical polarizability

*       Pyroelectrics and ferroelectrics

*       Defect and dielectric loss, dispersion attenuation in optical fibers

*       Maxwell’s equations in periodic systems: Photonic Band Gaps. Optical filters


Magnetic properties of Materials

*       Application of Maxwell’s equations to inductance

*       Magnetization: paramagnetism, diamagnetism, ferromagnetism

*       Microscopic origin of magnetization

*       QM equations for magnetization and Hund’s rule

*       Pauli paramagnetism

*       Exchange and ferromagnetism

*       Mean-field theory, Ising model


Modern tools for quantum calculations in solids

*       Introduction to ab-initio: many body problems

*       Hartree-Fock approach

*       Density Functional Theory: approximations, plane-waves, pseudo-potentials and k-points





*       TBA