Quantum Physics of Solids

Why do silicon, calcite and copper have very different properties even though they have similar densities of electrons? The answer is quantum mechanics and its application to band theory. Band theory provides some ofthe most direct tests of quantum mechanics. The course will develop the theory to explain thermal and electrical properties of everyday materials. We shall see how quantum mechanics and Fermi statistics successfully explained these properties when classical physics could not. The course will provide the concepts and quantum mechanical training needed to understand, for example, the workings of semiconductor devices. It will also provide theoretical understandings of material properties like thermal and electrical conductivity, optical reflection and transmission coefficients that you have seen in mechanics, E&M and modern physics. Topics covered will include: Drude and Sommerfield Models; Bloch's Theorem and periodic potentials; the nearly free electron model; tight binding model; band structures; semiconductors and insulators; band structure engineering.The mathematics required to understand the concepts will be developed as we go through the topics.

3 credits. Prerequisites: Ph 112, Ph 213, and Ph 214

Course Code: Ph 346

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.