MPhys Physics / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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 21/22 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.Analyse and describe main quantum properties (charge, spin, valley, etc.) of low-dimensional materials and their heterostructures.

2.  Rationalise the concept of topology in solid state physics.

3.  Describe main scanning probe techniques for characterization of low-dimensional systems

4. Conduct elementary calculations and estimations of quantities relevant to the various parts of the syllabus.


 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


Fumagalli (12 Lectures)

 -Fundamentals of scanning probe microscopy (SPM)

-Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (STM) 

-Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) 

-Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) 

-Overview of advanced SPM techniques, including other electrical, optical and magnetic techniques

- Examples of SPM application to nanostructures and low-dimensional systems (2D, 1D and 0D) 



Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

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

- Charles Kittel, Introduction to Solid State physics, (Wiley) 2005

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

- Avouris, P., Heinz, T., & Low, T. 2D Materials: Properties and Devices. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 2017

- E. Meyer, H. J. Hug, R. Bennewitz, Scanning Probe Microscopy - The lab on a Tip Springer, Berlin, 2004.

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
Laura Fumagalli Unit coordinator

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