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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 2022/3 (current)

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 English 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 is Frank Pollmann.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Introduction Symmetries and structure of condensed matter
  1. Phases of matter
  2. Scattering and static structure factor
Lattice vibrations: Phonons
  1. Theory of phonons and specific heat
  2. Inelastic neutron scattering, dynamic structure factor
  3. Linear response, fluctuation-dissipation relations
Electrons and conduction
  1. Bloch theorem, Wannier functions, band theory
  2. Metals and insulators, para- and diamagnetism
  3. Semiclassical dynamics, Bloch oscillations
  4. Transport: Drude theory, Boltzmann equations
  5. Quantum Hall
Interacting electrons
  1. Approaching the many-body problem
  2. Interlude: Second quantization
  3. Non-Interacting electron gas, Lindhard function
  4. Fermi liquid theory
  5. The interacting electron gas, Hartree-Fock theory
  6. Random phase approximation, screening, Collective excitations
  7. Electron-Phonon interaction, BCS-theory of superconductivity
  8. Quantum magnetism, Hubbard model at strong and weak coupling
  9. Disorder and localization

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

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

  5. 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

VO 4 Theoretical solid state physics Pollmann, F. Tue, 10:00–12:00, PH HS3
Thu, 10:00–12:00, PH HS3
UE 2 Open Tutorial to Theoretical Solid State Physics
Responsible/Coordination: Pollmann, F.
Mon, 14:00–16:00, Interims II 003
UE 2 Exercise to Theoretical Solid State Physics
Responsible/Coordination: Pollmann, F.
dates in groups eLearning

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module consists of a lecture and exercise classes.

In the thematically structured lecture the learning topics is presented. With cross references between different topics the universal concepts in physics are shown. In scientific discussions the students are involved to stimulate their analytic-physics intellectual power.

In the exercise (ca. 6-8 students) the learning content is deepened and exercised using problem examples and calculations. Thus the students are able to explain and apply the learned physics knowledge independently.


e-learning (tablet PC with voice recording for listening to parts or whole lectures/exercises), presentation documents, exercise sheets, computer simulations, accompanying website, supplementary literature


  • N.W. Ashcroft and N.D. Mermin, Solid State Physics, Cengage Learning (Deutsche Ausgabe: De Gruyter Oldenbourg)
  • P.M. Chaikin and T.C. Lubensky, Principles of Condensed Matter Physics, Cambridge University Press

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.
  • Calculate the density correlation function of the non-interacting Fermi gas.
  • Determine the relationship between fluctuations and dissipation.

Exam Repetition

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

Current exam dates

Currently TUMonline lists the following exam dates. In addition to the general information above please refer to the current information given during the course.

Exam to Theoretical Solid State Physics
Wed, 2024-02-28, 13:30 till 15:00 102
till 2024-01-15 (cancelation of registration till 2024-02-21)
Wed, 2024-03-27, 13:30 till 15:00 0001
till 2024-03-25
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