Condensed Matter Physics

Course Aim

This is a class designed for beginner students who would pursue a Ph.D. in fields related to physics, materials science, device engineering, and chemistry. The course covers major concepts and topics in condensed matter, with an emphasis on the shifting new perspective and paradigms in this evolving field. During the weekly three-hour lecture, I will try to split the time with half on theory and half on experimental demonstration of those theoretical concepts.

Course Description

Condensed matter physics has evolved from solid state physics into a subject which focuses on collective behavior, symmetry, and topological states.  This course provides an introduction to the field, arranged along three major concepts of lattice, electrons, and spins. We survey both central theoretical concepts and their experimental demonstrations, such as Landau levels and quantum Hall effects, superconductivity, and magnetic excitations. Several of these topics are developed from fundamental concepts to an advanced perspective.

Course Contents

(Separated into two-hour lecture each)

Crystals and Symmetry
Inelastic probes
Order and disorder
Phase transitions and Landau’s theory
Band structure
Fermi surface probes
Electronic excitations in metals
Electrical transport and galvanomagnetic phenomena
Quantum Hall and fractional quantum Hall
Superconductivity: BCS
Superconductivity: Quasi-particle gap
Superconductivity: GL
Josephson tunnelling
Josephson devices
Parity sensitive probes.
Odd parity superconductivity
Magnetic interactions
Metal-insulator transition
WKB and spin-tunneling
Itinerant magnetism
Spin excitations, spin waves, and magnons
Spin glass, spin ice, and spin liquids
Quantum phase transitions
Experimental study of dynamical exponent


Essays (4-6) 70%, final presentation, 30%.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

Basic quantum mechanics and basic concepts of statistics.


Ashcroft & Mermin, Solid State Physics (1976).
M. Tinkham, Introduction to Superconductivity (1996).

Reference Books

Chaikin & Lubensky, Principles of Condensed Matter Physics (1995).
D. Pines, Elementary Excitations in Solids (1963).
L. P. Levy, Magnetism and Superconductivity (1997). - no longer available
S.K. Ma, Modern Theory of Critical Phenomena (1976).