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Module PH2033

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 2018/9 (current)

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

available module versions
WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2016/7WS 2015/6WS 2014/5WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2033 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.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

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

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 45 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2033 is Matthias Althammer.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module provides an introduction to the various manifestations of magnetism. After a contextual and historical motivation, it begins with an introduction to the fundamental relations describing quantitatively the response of matter in an externally applied magnetic field. It describes the types of magnetism present in isolated atoms or ions and discusses the influence of the crystallographic environment. Afterwards, magnetism originating from the free electrons in a solid are discussed. Additionally, various coupling mechanisms of magnetic moments, collective effects, magnetic ordering and phase transitions are studied.

Learning Outcome

After participation in the Module the student is able to:
1) Evaluate the response of magnetic materials when applying a magnetic field,
2) Evaluate the magnetic properties of isolated ions and atoms,
3) Understand the influence of a crystallographic environment on ions and atoms,
4) Analyze the magnetic properties of free charge carriers in solids,
5) Understand the various coupling mechanisms between magnetic moments,
6) Understand magnetic ordering and phase transistions, and
7) Analyze the results of experimental data with respect to manifestations of magnetism


No previous knowledge necessary (other than admission prerequisites for the master course)

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module consists of a lecture and an exercise.

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

In the exercise class the learning content is deepened and exercised using problem examples and simulations based on physical models. Thus the students are able to explain and apply the learned physics knowledge independently.


talks, power point, presentation slides, excercises in groups and as an individual, discussions, online coursematerials, literature (textbooks and online materials)


Textbooks covering the topic magnetism:

  • Neil W. Ashcroft & N. David Mermin: Solid State Physics (Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1976),
  • Stephen Blundell: Magnetism in Condensed Matter, (Oxford University Press, 2001),
  • Konrad Kopitzki: Einführung in die Festkörperphysik, (Teubner,1993),
  • A.H. Morrish: The physical principles of magnetism, (IEEE Press, 2001),
  • Robert C. O'Handley: Modern magnetic materials - principles and applications, (Wiley, 2000),
  • Nicola Spaldin: Magnetic Materials - Fundamentals and Device Applications (Cambridge University Press, 2003),
  • Amikan Aharoni: Introduction to the Theory of Ferromagnetism(Oxford University Press, 2000),
  • W. Nolting: Quantentheorie des Magnetismus I+II (Teubner, 1997),
  • Kei Yosida: Theory of Magnetism (Springer, 1998)
  • Michael Coey: Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of about 30 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions, discussions based on sketches and formulas.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • How can one distinguish ferromagnetic, ferrimagnetic, and antiferromagnetic materials based on their magnetic susceptibility?
  • What are different classes of magnetic materials and which experiments need to be carried out to classify them?
  • How are homogenous magnetic fields generated?

In the exam no learning aids are permitted.

Participation in the tutorials is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

Exam Repetition

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

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