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MPhys Physics with Astrophysics / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Frontiers of Solid State Physics

Unit code PHYS40411
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Physics & Astronomy
Available as a free choice unit? No


Frontiers of Solid State Physics


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Properties of Matter PHYS10352 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Fundamentals of Solid State Physics PHYS20252 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Condensed Matter Physics PHYS30051 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


To achieve awareness and basic understanding of several inter-related topics of modern solid state physics.

Learning outcomes

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates
On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to
1. Describe main techniques for fabrication and characterisation of nanostructures.
2. Rationalise the concept of topology in solid state physics.
3. Analyse important quantum (charge and spin) electronic properties of graphene and other low dimensional systems.
4. Apply concepts of magnetism and spin-dependent transport to magnetic nanostructures and
    spintronic devices.
5. Describe main scanning probe techniques for characterisation of low dimensional systems.
6. Conduct elementary calculations and estimations of quantities relevant to various parts of the


 Mishchenko (8 Lectures)

Techniques of nanofabrication and characterisation.

Quantum confinement, low dimensional systems : 2D, 1D and 0D.

Electronic transport in graphene

Topology in solid state physics


I Vera Marun (8 Lectures)

Introduction into nanomagnetism.

Fundamentals of spin-dependent transport.

Spintronic devices and techniques.

Graphene spintronics


Fumagalli (8 Lectures)

Fundamentals of scanning probe microscopy.

Advanced scanning probe microscopy techniques.

Scanning probe microscopy applied to low dimensional systems (nanowires, quantum dots, single molecules).

Scanning probe microscopy of 2D materials.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 33%
Written exam 67%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be available on students’ individual written solutions to examples sheets, which will be marked, and model answers will be issued.

Recommended reading

Katsnelson, M. I. Graphene: Carbon in Two Dimensions, (Cambridge University Press) 2012

Kittel, C.  Introduction to Solid State physics, (Wiley) 2005 

Ferry, D. K., Goodnick, S. M., and Bird, J. Transport in Nanostructures (CUP) 2009

Tsymbal E. Y. & Zutic, I. Handbook of Spin Transport and Magnetism (CRC Press) 2012

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 74.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Artem Mishchenko Unit coordinator
Ivan Vera Marun Unit coordinator
Laura Fumagalli Unit coordinator

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