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Smart Materials

Module PH2313

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 SS 2022 (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
SS 2022SS 2021

Basic Information

PH2313 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer 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 PH2313 is Christian Back.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


In this module a specific focus will be put on fundamental characteristics of smart materials for energy and data storage application. In the introduction, smart materials will be introduced and classified. Among the materials studied are piezoelectric materials, thermoelectric materials, ferroelectric and multiferroic materials as well as magnetoresistive materials. A short introduction into methods for data storage will be given. Finally experimental methods suitable to probe the different material classes will be introduced.

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of the module the students are able to: - Assess the most important classes of materials in the field of material science - Identify the properties which determine the performance of these functional materials in a specific area of application - Explain the design principles to control their functionality - Compare characterization and identification techniques that are widely used in material science


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 2 Smart Materials Back, C.
Assistants: Aqeel, A.
Mon, 11:00–13:00, MW 0250
UE 1 Exercise to Smart Materials Aqeel, A.
Responsible/Coordination: Back, C.
dates in groups

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module consists of a lecture and exercise classes. In the thematically structured lecture the learning content 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 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.


PowerPoint, Board work, Excercise sheets


R. E. Newnham: Properties of materials, Oxford University Press (2004), S. Blundell: Magnetism in Condensed Matter, Oxford University Press, (2000)

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:

  • What are magneto-resistive effects?
  • What are functional materials and how are they technologically relevant?
  • What combination of properties are involved in the “figure of merit” of these materials?
  • How do the physical properties depend on crystallographic direction?
  • How does symmetry influence the physical properties of smart materials?
  • How are these properties described mathematically?

Participation in the exercise classes 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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