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Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics (in English)

Module PH8019

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 2023 (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 2023SS 2022SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018

Basic Information

PH8019 is a semester module in English language at which is offered in summer semester.

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 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH8019 is Menno Poot.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Bonding types and forces

  • periodic table
  • covalent and metallic bonding
  • ionic and van der Waals bonding
  • hydrogen and other supramolecular bonding types

Structures and determination methods

  • amorphous and crystalline structures - fundamental terms and definitions
  • examples for crystal structures in real space
  • reciprocal lattice and diffraction
  • defects

Lattice dynamics

  • classical theory of lattice dynamics
  • quantisation of lattice vibrations
  • density of states in phonon spectra
  • theory of elasticity in the continuum

Thermal properties

  • specific heat
  • anharmonic effects: thermal expansion
  • heat conductivity
  • thermoelectric effects

Electrons in solids

  • model of free electron gas
  • Bloch electrons and energy bands
  • density of states in metals and isolaters
  • brillouin zones and fermi surfaces

Transport of charge carriers

  • semiclassical model of dynamics of electrons
  • motion of electron in periodic lattice
  • boltzmann transport equation


  • intrinsic and doped semiconductors
  • inhomogeneous semiconductors
  • important semiconductor devices


  • basic phenomena
  • microscopic description
  • unconventional superconductors


  • dia- and paramagnetism
  • ferromagnetic materials
  • ferro- and antiferromagnetism

Dielectric properties

  • macroscopic and microscopic description
  • types of polarization
  • dielectric properties of metals and semiconductors


  • interfaces, nanostructures and low dimensional systems
  • organic materials, metal-organic lattices and soft-matter

Learning Outcome

After the successful participation at the module the student is able to:

  1. know the different bonding types in condensed matter physics and allocate them to given condensed matter
  2. reproduce the physics fundamentals of structure analysis and the corresponding experiments
  3. comprehend the fundamentals of lattice dynamics and their importance for solid matter properties (especially thermal properties)
  4. understand the behaviour of electrons in crystalline structures and apply this knowledge to the transport of charge carriers
  5. know and explain fundamental properties of semiconductors, superconductors and magnetic material
  6. reproduce the most important dielectric properties of solids


PH0001, PH0002, PH0003, PH0004, PH0005, PH0006, PH0007

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Please keep in mind that course announcements are regularly only completed in the semester before.

VO 4 Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics (in English) Poot, M. Mon, 12:00–14:00, EI-HS Garching
Thu, 16:00–18:00, EI-HS Garching
and singular or moved dates
UE 2 Exercise to Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics (in English) Sommer, T.
Responsible/Coordination: Poot, M.
dates in groups

Learning and Teaching Methods

lecture: teacher centered learning

tutorial: discussion and solution of exercise problems, discussions and supplementary explanations to the subject matter of the lecture.


blackboard and powerpoint presentation

accompanying information online


  • Kittel: Introduction to Solid State Physics
  • Ashcroft, Mermin: Solid State Physics

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:

  • Calculation and discussion of the binding energy of a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the reciprocal lattice and the structure factor of a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the phononic heat capacity of a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the electronic states in a simple crystal
  • Calculation and discussion of the charge carrier density and Fermi energy in a simple semiconductor

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

There will be a bonus (one intermediate stepping of "0,3" to the better grade) on passed module exams (4,3 is not upgraded to 4,0). The bonus is applicable to the exam period directly following the lecture period (not to the exam repetition) and subject to the condition that the student passes the mid-term of

  • passing the voluntary test exam during the semester
  • presenting a solution in the exercise groups at least once

Exam Repetition

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

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