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Solid State Spectroscopy

Module PH2189

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

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 2021/2WS 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2015/6WS 2013/4

Basic Information

PH2189 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This module description is valid to SS 2019.

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 PH2189 in the version of WS 2018/9 was Ian Sharp.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module will introduce the students to the physical principles and experimental realization of the most important methods employed today for the structural, chemical, and optoelectronic characterization of solids and the surfaces of solids. The following methods will be addressed in detail:

  • Imaging methods: electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy: SEM, TEM, STM, AFM, SNOM, KFM
  • X-ray, neutron and electron diffraction and scattering methods: HRXRD, LEED, SAXS, SANS
  • Chemical analysis: SIMS, AES, EDX, XPS, UPS
  • Optical spectroscopy: important optical components, FTIR, Raman, ellipsometry, transmission, absorption, reflection, photoluminescence
  • Electronic and ionic conductivity methods
  • Nuclear and Electron Spin resonance

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module the students will possess a basic knowledge of all spectroscopy methods discussed, including their physical foundations and their state-of-the-art experimental realization. This will provide them with the necessary knowledge to effectively use these methods in their later studies (e.g. Bachelor or Master Theses) and to interpret obtained experimental results correctly and critically. After successful completion of this module, the student is able to:

  • understand the physical foundations and the state-of-the-art applications of the spectroscopy methods discussed
  • interpret experimental results correctly and critically
  • describe key information that is obtained from each method about solid state materials
  • explain the physical principles and interactions upon which each experimental method is based
  • recognize how different methods complement one another
  • describe limitations of different methods in terms of sensitivity, resolution, and impact on investigated samples
  • describe how different experimental tools (e.g. lasers, electron energy analyzers, spectrometers, etc.) function 


no requirements beyond the admission to the Physics Master's programme.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Learning and Teaching Methods

The modul consists of a lecture and exercise classes.

Lecture: In classroom lectures, the teaching and learning content is presented and explained in a didactical, structured, and comprehensive form. This content includes basic knowledge, as well as selected current topics in evolving areas of solid state spectroscopy. Practical and modern aspects of solid state spectroscopy are highlighted in terms of the physical principles upon which they are built. Crucial facts are conveyed by involving the students in scientific discussions to develop their intellectual power and to stimulate their analytic thinking on physics problems. Regular attendance of the lectures is therefore highly recommended.

Exercise: The presentation of the learning content is enhanced by optional supplemental lectures, laboratory tours, and guest presentations that place the lecture content in the context of modern experimental solid state physics research. These learning activities are intended to deepen the students’ understanding and to help their learning of the course material.


Lecture notes are written using a tablet and are complemented by powerpoint slides that provide figures and videos representing modern research examples, schematic illustrations, and representative data.


  • H. Kuzmany: Solid State Spectroscopy, Springer-Verlag, (2009)
  • I. Pelant & J. Valenta: Luminescence Sspectroscopy of Semiconductors, Oxford University Press, (2012)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 25 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 and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Description and explanation the electronic transitions associated with different X-ray and electron spectroscopies
  • Explaining different scanning probe microscopy modes and their implementations
  • Explaining the selection rules for vibrational spectroscopies and providing examples of active and inactive modes
  • Explaining what the experimentalist can learn from different X-ray diffraction modes and geometries
  • Describing the different radiative and non-radiative recombination mechanisms in a semiconductor

Exam Repetition

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

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