This is a graduate level course
in solid state physics: the goal is to address many-body effects in solid
state systems, with a particular focus on electronic properties. The
exact topics covered depend on the instructor and the interests of
the students, but typically may include
the interacting electron gas - Hartree-Fock, RPA, and intro to
density-functional theory
dissipation in quantum mechanics - the spin-boson model
topological insulators and/or the quantum Hall effect (hasn't
been taught before, but could be if there is interest)
Substantial background in
quantum mechanics is assumed, and some familiarity
with elementary solid-state physics is helpful. "Second
quantized" notation is introduced in the first class and then is
used extensively, but no field theory or Green function
formalism is used (note that the course catalog description is
out of date in this regard) -
the focus is on physical phenomenon rather than theoretical
techniques.
Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30-3:00pm, or by appointment
Prerequisites:
A good quantum mechanics course is essential, such as our
764 or a two semester undergraduate sequence (like 464-465). In
addition, some prior study of solid state physics at the undergraduate level is desirable (but not
essential)-- familiarity with the notion of a Fermi sea and a
Fermi surface will be assumed, for instance. Students who are
interested in taking the course but have not taken these
prerequisites are encouraged to contact the instructor to
discuss their situation-- the course has been successfully
completed by students who have studied only part of the
prerequisite material.
Assessment (ie. grades): There are no exams in
this class. The grade is based on homework problems, a final
paper, group presentations to the
class, in-class problem sessions, and
classroom participation. More specifically, the breakdown is as
follows:
40%, problem sets, about 6-8 distributed through the semester
15%, 2-3 presentations to the class of about 20 min in length,
prepared in a small group (2 or 3 students)
25%, final paper of about 15 pages in length on a topic of
your choice (I'll provide a list of suggestions, and each
student will meet with me twice to discuss progress)
20%, in-class problem sessions & questions/answers