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Physics 489 Handout 1 22 January 2003 Solid State Physics I http://w3.physics.uiuc.edu/ goldbart Introductory Notes Prof. P. M. Goldbart ESB 2-115 University of Illinois Physics 489: Solid State Physics I is the Frst of a two-semester sequence of graduate-level courses whose aim is to teach the central ideas of the physics of matter in the solid state. A more thorough course syllabus is given in Handout 2. If you happen to do research in condensed matter physics then it is likely that you will make extensive use of ideas developed in this course. Even if you choose another area for research, I believe that at least some of the concepts and techniques that we shall encounter are su±ciently general and important to be worth understanding. ²or example, the growing Feld of photonic band-gap materials, which aims to tailor periodic optical media to suit various applications, rests squarely on (and one may even say was inspired by) the band-structure concept of solid state physics. The same relationship holds between the Feld of atomic gases conFned to optical lattices, in which phenomena familiar from solid state physics can be explored in settings that allow for exceptional control over parameters. I believe, however, that, practicalities aside, the main reason for taking this course is that the subject-matter that we shall be developing—the quantum-statistical theory of solids— forms the intellectual and practical cornerstone for explaining many of the the physical aspects of our daily lives. Why are metals cold to the touch, why are freshly exposed metal surfaces shiny, why are good electrical insulators often good thermal insulators,. ..? The subject brings to bear tools of twentieth century science (quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics) on the task of understanding the physical properties of the matter around us, in all its rich variety, in terms of its microscopic constituents. Little at the atomic scale prepares us for at this rich variety (e.g., the existence and properties of metals, semiconductors, insulators, magnets, superconductors,. ..). Thus, I regard the exploration of properties that emerge in this limit, viz., “more particles”, as being fundamental, as are other
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This note was uploaded on 01/22/2012 for the course PHYSICS 850 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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