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Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics

Module PH0019 [KM Intro]

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2016/7

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2022/3WS 2021/2WS 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2016/7WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH0019 is a semester module in German language at Bachelor’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (5th Semester, Specialization AEP)
  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (5th Semester, Specialization BIO)
  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (5th Semester, Specialization KTA)

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
240 h 90 h 8 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH0019 in the version of WS 2016/7 was Christine Papadakis.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Bonding types and forces

  • periodic table
  • covalent and metallic bonding
  • ionic and van der Waals bonding
  • hydrogen and other supramolecular bonding types

Structures and determination methods

  • amorphous and crystalline structures - fundamental terms and definitions
  • examples for crystal structures in real space
  • reciprocal lattice and diffraction
  • defects

Lattice dynamics

  • classical theory of lattice dynamics
  • quantisation of lattice vibrations
  • density of states in phonon spectra
  • theory of elasticity in the continuum

Thermal properties

  • specific heat
  • anharmonic effects: thermal expansion
  • heat conductivity
  • thermoelectric effects

Electrons in solids

  • model of free electron gas
  • Bloch electrons and energy bands
  • density of states in metals and isolaters
  • brillouin zones and fermi surfaces

Transport of charge carriers

  • semiclassical model of dynamics of electrons
  • motion of electron in periodic lattice
  • boltzmann transport equation


  • intrinsic and doped semiconductors
  • inhomogeneous semiconductors
  • important semiconductor devices


  • basic phenomena
  • microscopic description
  • unconventional superconductors


  • dia- and paramagnetism
  • ferromagnetic materials
  • ferro- and antiferromagnetism

Dielectric properties

  • macroscopic and microscopic description
  • types of polarization
  • dielectric properties of metals and semiconductors


  • interfaces, nanostructures and low dimensional systems
  • organic materials, metal-organic lattices and soft-matter

Learning Outcome

After the successful participation at the module the student is able to:

  1. know the different bonding types in condensed matter physics and allocate them to given condensed matter
  2. reproduce the physics fundamentals of structure analysis and the corresponding experiments
  3. comprehend the fundamentals of lattice dynamics and their importance for solid matter properties (especially thermal properties)
  4. understand the behaviour of electrons in crystalline structures and apply this knowledge to the transport of charge carriers
  5. know and explain fundamental properties of semiconductors, superconductors and magnetic material
  6. reproduce the most important dielectric properties of solids


PH0001, PH0002, PH0003, PH0004, PH0005, PH0006, PH0007

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture: teacher centered learning

tutorial: discussion and solution of exercise problems, discussions and supplementary explanations to the subject matter of the lecture.


blackboard and powerpoint presentation

accompanying information online


  • Siegfried Hunklinger: Festkörperphysik, Oldenbourg Verlag München
  • Kittel: Einführung in die Festkörperphysik, Oldenbourg Verlag
  • Ashcroft, Mermin: Festkörperphysik, Oldenbourg
  • Kopitzki, Herzog: Einführung in die Festkörperphysik, Vieweg+Teubner
  • Ibach, Lüth: Festkörperphysik. Einführung in die Grundlagen, Springer-Verlag

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be a written exam of 90 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using calculation problems and comprehension questions.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Calculation and discussion of the binding energy of a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the reciprocal lattice and the structure factor of a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the phononic heat capacity of a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the electronic states in a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the charge carrier density and Fermi energy in a simple semiconductor

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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