Module code: PHY2068

Module provider


Module Leader

SELLIN PJ Prof (Physics)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 5

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 84

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 11

Laboratory Hours: 44

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment LABORATORY DIARY & POSTER/ABSTRACT 30%

Alternative Assessment

Examination submitted during the Late Summer Assessment period. For the laboratory coursework the written reports may be assessed by a condensed programme of laboratory work, with written report.

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module will review crystal structures, will develop the concepts of heat transport and heat capacity in crystalline solids and introduce the concept of quantisation of lattice vibrations (phonons). The module will introduce the free electron theory of metals and introduce band theory. The concept of semiconductors will be discussed and the physics of modern photonic devices such as semiconductor lasers, photo-sensors and nuclear radiation detectors will be introduced.

Module aims

develop key concepts in solid-state physics including crystal structure and dynamics, concept of densities of states, lattice and electronic heat capacity and the band theory of solids. The difference between metals, insulators and semiconductors will be discussed and the module will show how semiconductors play a pivotal role in modern electronic and photonic devices.

Laboratory classes will be used to reinforce concepts developed in the lectures and will be used to further develop and enhance laboratory skills, particularly in the area of analysis and spectroscopy.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Understand different types of crystal structure C
Describe modes of vibration in a crystal lattice and how this may be used to determine the heat capacity. K
Solve problems in the band theory of solids C
Differentiate between metals, insulators and conductors. KC
Demonstrate an understanding of the role of semiconductors and evaluate why they have become ubiquitous in modern electronic and photonic devices KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

The lecture course will cover the following topics:
Crystal structure: Revision of crystal structures, the reciprocal lattice and a review of X-ray diffraction technique.
Lattice dynamics: Lattice vibration, concept of phonons and phonon modes, density of states, derivation of Dulong-Petit, Einstein and Debye models of heat capacity, electronic heat capacity and electrical conductivity.
Band theory: Free electron model, energy-momentum dispersion relationship, concept of Brillouin zones, band structure and band gaps, distinction between metals, insulators and semiconductors.
Semiconductor device physics: Doping of semiconductors, pn junction diodes, basic introduction to emission and absorption in semiconductors photonic and sensor devices (light emitting diodes, semiconductor lasers, photodetectors and nuclear radiation detectors).
The laboratory experiments will include: X-ray diffraction, photoluminescence spectroscopy, absorption in semiconductors,characterisation of semiconductor lasers and LEDs.

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

• equip students with subject knowledge

• develop skills in applying subject knowledge to physical situations

• enable students to tackle unseen problems in solid state physics

• advance students' practical skills


The learning and teaching methods include:

• 33h of lectures and tutorials as 3h/week over 11 weeks

• 1-week experiments throughout semester (22 hours laboratory work)


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

recall of subject knowledge

ability to apply subject knowledge to unseen problems

practical laboratory skills

scientific communication skills


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

An end of semester examination of 1.5 h duration with 2 questions from 3 to be attempted

The laboratory coursework is assessed through a combination of interviews, written reports and a poster presentation.


Formative Assessment


Problem sets are provided during the weekly 1 hour tutorial on solid state physics, together with model answers to these questions, which allow the students to test their understanding of course material. Formative assessment during the laboratory classes is provided by an online quiz for each experiment carried out each week by the students to prepare for the forthcoming laboratory experiment.




Verbal feedback is provided during the weekly 1 hour tutorial throughout the semester. Model solutions are provided for the questions on the problem sets to provide students with feedback on their problem-solving ability. Feedback during the laboratory classes is provided by demonstrators and staff giving verbal feedback and support during the class.



Reading list

Reading list for SOLID STATE PHYSICS :

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.