Phys 725 — Spring 2019
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Instructor: Dr. Kevin Beach
Office: 206 Lewis Hall

Catalog description

Properties of solids and solid state theory, lattices, lattice imperfections and vibrations, cohesive energy, band structure, magnetism, transport and optical properties.

3 credit hours

Where and when

Lectures: T R 8:00–9:15 in Lewis Hall Room 109
Office hours: T W R 13:30–14:30 or by appointment
Final exam: Tuesday, May 7 at 8:00


Phys 711: Quantum Mechanics I

Required text

Introduction to Solid State Physics, 8th ed., Charles Kittel, Wiley (2004)
ISBN 9780471415268 [UM Official Bookstore : Amazon : Google Books]

Additional textbook suggestions

Solid State Physics, Neil W. Ashcroft and N. David Mermin, Harcourt (2002)
ISBN 9780030839931 [Amazon]
Principles of the Theory of Solids, J. M. Ziman, Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed. (1979)
ISBN 9780521297332 [Amazon]
Condensed Matter Physics, Michael P. Marder, Wiley, 2nd ed. (2010)
ISBN 9780470617984 [Amazon]
Condensed Matter in a Nutshell, Gerald D. Mahan, Princeton University Press (2010)
ISBN 9780691140162 [Amazon]
Principles of Condensed Matter Physics, P. M. Chaikin and T. C. Lubensky, Cambridge University Press (2000)
ISBN 9780521794503 [Amazon]
Lectures On Phase Transitions And The Renormalization Group, N. Goldenfeld, Westview Press (1992)
ISBN 9780201554090 [Amazon]

Grading scheme

Your grade will be based on the cumulative points you earn from assignments, a midterm exam, and a final exam, weighted as follows.

Weekly homework: 40%
Midterm exam: 20%
Final exam: 40%

The numerical score (out of 100) will be converted to a letter grade with a corresponding grade point value, following the UM +/– grading system adopted in Fall 2011. The conversion is carried out by matching to the ranges shown in the table below.

Letter grade Grade point value Numerical score range
A 4.0 ≥ 90
A– 3.7 [85,90)
B+ 3.3 [80,85)
B 3.0 [75,80)
B– 2.7 [70,75)
C+ 2.3 [65,70)
C 2.0 [60,65)
C– 1.7 [55,60)
D 1.0 [50,55)
F 0 < 50

Class attendance — Regular attendance is strongly encouraged. Some material presented in lecture may not appear in your textbook. During class, I will sometimes present worked problems, give hints and tips about the homework, and provide guidance about where to focus your studies for the tests and exams.

Homework — Homework assignments will be due in class. Late assignments will be penalized at the rate of 20% per day.

Learning objectives

Students will develop a qualitative understanding of materials chemistry and how collections of atoms come to form liquids and solids (condensed phases of matter). They will learn about regular solids and how the mathematical consequences of regularity allow for the experimental determination of crystal structure. They will become proficient in calculating basic properties of solids using the framework of noninteracting fermions (electrons) and bosons (lattice vibrations). They will be able to identify the important electrical, optical, and thermal phenomena in metals, insulators, and semiconductors. They will develop an understanding of the operation of common solid state devices.

Topics likely to be covered

Cohesion and bonding — electronic structure, hybridization, covalent networks, mixed covalent and ionic character, Ewald sums

Crystallinity — solidification, Bravais lattices, crystal growth, x-ray generation, scattering, experimental determination of crystal structure

Complex structures — impurities, alloys, superlattices, phase separation, glasses, incomensurate structures, quasicrystals, liquid crystals

Lattice vibrations — elastic response, normal modes, acoustic and optical branches, the dynamical matrix, quantized phonons, thermal expectation values, phonon density of states

Electrons — ideal fermionic gases, simple metals, tight binding, band structure calculations, thermodynamic relations, transport, dielectric function of metals and insulators, optical properties

Semiconductors — fabrication technologies and p-n junctions, semiconductor devices


The university requires that all students have a verified attendance at least once during the first two weeks of the semester for each course. If your attendance is not verified, then you will be dropped from the course and any financial aid will be adjusted accordingly. Please see for more information.

Regular attendance throughout the semester is strongly encouraged. Some material presented in lecture may not appear in your textbook. During class, I will sometimes present worked problems, give hints and tips about the homework, and provide guidance about where to focus your studies for the tests and exams.

Academic integrity and honesty

Students are expected to adhere to the University of Mississippi Creed and the Standards of Honesty as described in Policy Code ACA.AR.600.001 and the M Book.

Students are reminded that cheating in any form will not be tolerated. Performance on all tests and assignments shall represent the individual work of the student. Those who violate the Standards of Honesty will be reported and subject to the appropriate sanction, which may include expulsion from the University.

Nondiscrimination policy

The University complies with all applicable laws regarding affirmative action and equal opportunity in all its activities and programs and does not discriminate against anyone protected by law because of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, handicap, or status as a veteran or disabled veteran.

Policies and procedures for students with disabilities

It is University policy to provide, on a flexible and individual basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or meet course requirements. Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Student Disability Services (662-915-7128 or to discuss their individual needs.

Examinations and last week of class

Regulations governing all examinations — A student’s failure to appear for an examination without an acceptable excuse,inability to present valid identification,absence from the room during the course of an examination without the consent of the examiner, or attempting any portion of an examination without submitting his or her answers shall result in failure of the examination. Tardiness beyond 15 minutes forfeits a student’s right to an examination.

Final examinations — A final examination, to be given at the time posted in the examination schedule, is required in each undergraduate course, unless the appropriate chair and dean have approved an exception. A student who has three or four final examinations in one day may arrange with the course instructor to take the noon or 7:30 p.m. examination at another time. In order to give a final examination at any time other than that shown in the posted examination schedule, an instructor must have prior approval of the department chair and dean.

Last week of class — The following guidelines exist to allow sufficient time for students and instructors to prepare for final examinations. These guidelines apply to the week preceding final examinations for undergraduate courses held during Fall and Spring semesters.

  • During the period of Wednesday through Friday of the last week of class, instructors are not to give exams, tests, or quizzes that contribute more than 10% of the final grade for a class. An instructor can obtain approval of the department chair and dean to give an exam, test, or quiz, of this weight, during this three day period. Instructors should return graded work and/or inform students of their grades on exams, tests, or quizzes prior to the beginning of finals week.

  • Exceptions to the above statement are automatically made for lab-based courses, technical writing courses, seminar courses that assign a term paper, and senior design courses that assign a multi-faceted project in lieu of a final exam. Major projects of the above types, which contribute more than 10% of the final grade and which are due during this Last Week period, should be assigned in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and any substantial change in the assignment should be made known to students before the drop deadline.