This website is no longer updated.

As of 1.10.2022, the Faculty of Physics has been merged into the TUM School of Natural Sciences with the website For more information read Conversion of Websites.

de | en

Materials Physics on an Atomistic Scale 1

Module PH2218

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 2020/1

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 2018/9SS 2015

Basic Information

PH2218 is a semester module in German or 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 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2218 in the version of WS 2020/1 was Michael Leitner.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module is concerned with the arrangement and movement of atoms in solids. As these aspects determine to a large part the macroscopic properties of matter, their microscopical understanding is fundamental to, e.g., the tuning of materials for technological applications.

The following topics pertaining to the static arrangement of atoms in solids will be treated in detail:

  • symmetries - point groups, space groups, Bravais lattices, positions within the unit cell
  • crystal structures - elementary systems and compounds
  • point defects
  • aspects of order - short-range and long-range order
  • statistics and thermodynamics - fundamental models for predicting observables from microscopic parameters
  • phases and phase diagrams

For all the above points both a general description of the relevant concepts as well as a motivation by microscopic models will be given, but also a quantitative discussion of their realization in typical systems.

A continuation of the module is PH2219 in the following semester.

Learning Outcome

Upon successful completion of the module, students are able to:

  • list the main crystal structures and analyze them with respect to their symmetries
  • understand and predict which structure a given system will assume
  • to apply the concepts relevant for describing point defects and to understand their behaviour
  • to apply simple statistical and thermodynamical models
  • to read phase diagrams and to deduce thermodynamic aspects, as well as to predict the phase diagrams resulting from given microscopic parameters
  • to have a feeling for the typical values of the physical quantities relevant for the atomic scale, such as distances and energies, and to understand their consequences

Generally, this module intends to bring the students to a point where they can rationalize the results of theoretical or experimental investigations of pertinent aspects from the point of view of the present state of science, and thus to prepare them for original research.


No preconditions exceeding the admission requirements for the master degree program.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Materials Physics on an Atomistic Scale 1 Leitner, M. Wed, 10:00–12:00, PH-Cont. C.3201
and singular or moved dates

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module consists of a lecture. The learning content is presented by blackboard writing and verbal lecturing, with a detailed discussion of the treated phenomena. Here active contributions from the students (comprehension questions) are invited. To consolidate the content, private study of the provided lecture script is indicated.

Regarding the current coronavirus pandemic: this lecture will be conducted as on-campus lecture as long as the regulations allow again, in the meantime podcasts and sketches in addition to the lecture script will be provided.


Black board or beamer presentation. A lecture script will be provided, outlining the essential contents, but not superceding the detailed discussions given in the lecture.


Fundaments of solid-state physics:

  • N.W. Ashcroft & N.D. Mermin: Solid State Physics, De Gruyter Oldenbourg, (2012)
  • H. Ibach, H. Lüth: Festkörperphysik, Springer-Verlag, (2009)
  • Ch. Kittel: Introduction to Solid State Physics, Wiley, (2018)
  • R. Gross & A. Marx: Festkörperphysik, De Gruyter, (2018)
  • U. Rössler: Solid State Theory: An Introduction, Springer-Verlag, (2009)

Statistical physics:

  • F. Schwabl: Statistische Mechanik, Springer-Verlag, (2006)

classical metal physics:

  • G. Gottstein: Physikalische Grundlagen der Metallkunde, Springer-Verlag, (2007)
  • P. Haasen: Physikalische Metallkunde, Springer-Verlag, (2013)

classical solid-state chemistry:

  • J. Maier: Festkörper - Fehler und Funktion, Springer-Verlag, (2000)

atomic aspects of solids:

  • M.T. Dove: Structure and Dynamics: An Atomic View of Materials, Oxford University Press, (2003)

specialized aspects:

  • W. Borchardt-Ott & H. Sowa: Kristallographie. Eine Einführung für Naturwissenschaftler, Springer Spektrum, (2013)
  • R.J.D. Tilley: Defects in Solids, John Wiley & Sons, (2008)

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 discussions of the relevant concepts as well as typical realizations in solids.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • sketching and discussing of fundamental crystal structures, their symmetries, prototypical examples
  • temperature dependence of point defect concentrations, explaining the concepts of formation energies and entropies
  • discussing short-range order, defining the Warren-Cowley parameters
  • explaining phase diagrams

In the exam no learning aids are permitted.

Remarks on associated module exams

The exam for this module can be taken together with the exam to the associated follow-up module PH2219: Materialphysik auf atomarer Skala 2 / Materials Physics on an Atomistic Scale 2 after the follwoing semester. In this case you need to register for both exams in the following semester.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

Top of page