MPhys Physics

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Frontiers of Solid State Physics

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHYS40411
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
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 present several topics of contemporary solid state physics.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the students will be able to

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

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

3. Analyse and 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.


 A. Mishchenko                                                                                               (12 Lectures)

- Quantum confinement in 2D, 1D, and 0D

- Physics of graphene, other 2D materials, and van der Waals heterostructures

- Many-body physics: magnetism and superconductivity in 2D

- Topological materials and quantum Hall effect


L. 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 and modes, including other electrical, optical and magnetic techniques
  • Examples of SPM application to nanostructures and low-dimensional systems (2D, 1D, 0D)


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be available on students’ solutions to example problems, 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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