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Theoretical Solid State Physics

Module PH1001 [ThPh KM]

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 2017/8

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

PH1001 is a semester module in German language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

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

  • Theory courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Specialization Modules in Elite-Master Program Theoretical and Mathematical Physics (TMP)

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

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
300 h 90 h 10 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH1001 in the version of WS 2017/8 was Frank Pollmann.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


I) Symmetries and structure of condensed matter

  1. Phases and broken symmetries
  2. Determination of structure by x-ray diffraction

II) Lattice vibrations

  1. Phonons and thermodynamics
  2. Neutron scattering, dynamic structure factor
  3. Anharmonic effects, melting, Lindemann criterion

III) Electrons

  1. Bonding types, stability
  2. Bloch theorem, Wannier functions, band theory
  3. Fermi surfaces, Thermodynamics
  4. Semiclassical dynamics of electrons, Bloch oscillations
  5. Edge state theory of the quantum Hall effect

IV) Many particle effects and disorder

  1. Interacting electron gas, screening, Wigner lattice
  2. Density Functional Theory
  3. Electron-Phonon interaction, BCS-theory of superconductivity
  4. Anderson localization in disordered quantum systems

Details on

Learning Outcome

Successful participation provides the following skills:

  1. Mathematical formulation of relevant structures of matter and their atomic composition. Calculation of the structural and dynamic properties of matter in terms of simple models

  2. Explain the physics of structural phase transitions at surfaces and for defect structures

  3. Understand modern methods for calculating the electronic structure of solids. Ability to perform simple density functional calculations

  4. Approximations and methods for solving many particle problems in condensed matter physics

  5. Understand and explain the nature of correlated low-dimensional systems in the framework of Fermi- or Luttinger liquid theory

  6. Explain and theoretically describe electronic phase transitions such as superconductivity


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VU 6 Theoretical solid state physics Zwerger, W. Tue, 10:00–12:00, PH HS3
Thu, 10:00–12:00, PH HS3
and dates in groups

Learning and Teaching Methods

Vortrag, Beamerpräsentation, Übungen in Einzel- und Gruppenarbeit (ca. 6-8 Studierende mit Unterstützung durch Tutor)


e-Learning (Tablet-PC mit Sprachaufzeichnung zum Nachhören von Teilen oder ganzen Vorlesungen/Übungen), Präsentationsunterlagen, Übungsblätter, Computersimulationen, begleitende Internetseite, ergänzende Literatur

Die genauen Medienformen wählt der jeweilige Dozent aus.


N.W. Ashcroft and N.D. Mermin, Solid State Physics
P.M. Chaikin and T.C. Lubensky, Principles of Condensed Matter Physics

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:

  • Calculate the spectrum of eigenfrequencies for the longitudinal vibrations of the two-atomic chain harmonic chain, assuming periodic boundary conditions.
  • Determine the wave-function from the Bloch-condition for the Kronig-Penney model.

Exam Repetition

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

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