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PHYSICS 353: SOLID STATE PHYSICS
COURSE SYLLABUS
Fall 2014
Light emitting diodes reflected off a hard drive. (Photo by bbum on Flickr.)

CONTENTS
Description/Text Book
Instructor
Goals
Topic Prerequisites
Outline
Grading
Homework
Absences
"Determination of the stable motion of electrons in the atom introduces integers, and up to this point the only phenomena involving integers in physics were those of interference and of normal modes of vibration. This fact suggested to me the idea that electrons too could not be considered simply as particles, but that frequency (wave properties) must be assigned to them also."
[Louis de Broglie, Nobel Prize Speech, 1929]

"It may be appropriate to speculate at this point about the future of transistor electronics. Those who have worked intensively in the field share the author's feeling of great optimism regarding the ultimate potentialities."
[William Shockley, Nobel Prize Speech, 1950]

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Description:
An introductory study of the physics of solids including crystal lattice vibrations and waves, the free electron model, electron energy bands, semiconductor electrical properties, junctions, and optical properties. Prerequisites: PHYS 252 and MATH 232. Offered in the Fall semester. One semester; three credits.

Text:
J.R. Hook & H.E. Hall, Solid State Physics (2nd ed.)

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Instructor: Dr. John Varriano
Office: CW 116
Phone: 3439 (office)     685-9551 (home)

Office Hours:
Check my posted
schedule for official office hours. Feel free to come by at other times to see if I am in.

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Goals:

  1. To gain some insight to the behavior of solids, in particular the behavior crystals and of electrons traveling in solids.
  2. To understand the basic principles of physics used in modeling the behavior of solids.
  3. To improve your mathematical skill and your analytic reasoning skill, both which are needed to be a successful physicist.
  4. To deepen your appreciation of Nature.

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Topic Prerequisites:
- introductory, classical physics concepts (force, momentum, energy)
- basic quantum physics concepts (photon, matter wave) - basic techniques for solving differential equations

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Outline:

  1. Review
    • Photons, matter waves, conservation of energy and momentum
  2. Crystal Structure (Ch. 1)
    • Lattices, bases, directions, structures
  3. Crystal Dynamics (Ch. 2)
    • Phonons, heat capacity, thermal conduction
  4. Free Electrons in Metals (Ch. 3)
    • Electrical and thermal conduction, Hall effect
  5. Energy Bands (Ch. 4)
    • Band structure, effective masses
  6. Semiconductors (Ch. 5-6)
    • Electrons and holes, transport properties, p-n junctions
  7. Low-Dimensional Systems (Ch. 14)
    • Quantum size effects, quantum well lasers

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Grading:
There will be 2 tests during the semester, one near midterm and one near the end of the semester. Each test will contribute 15% to your final grade. There will be a comprehensive final exam. The final exam will contribute 20% to your final grade. The remaining 50% of your grade will come from collected homework problems. Your final grade will be determined using the following scale.

0-59.9% - F / 60-69.9% - D / 70-79.9% - C / 80-89.9% - B / 90-100% - A

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Homework:
Collected homework problems will usually be due one week after they are assigned. Each problem is worth 10 points. Late problems will be accepted with a 1-point penalty per day. After 5 days, the penalty will not increase beyond 5 points and problems can be turned in up until the last day of classes. I will simply divide your homework point total by the maximum possible total to get a percentage. Fifty percent of this percentage will count to your final percentage as described above. Other problems may be assigned but not collected. See the
Problem Outline for a listing of collected problems.

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Absences:
Let me know beforehand if you are going to miss a test so that other arrangements can be made. If you miss a test without warning, a make-up test can be taken with a 20% penalty.

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