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 Physics of Solids I  posted by  member7_php   on 2/11/2009  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Wen, Xiao-Gang, 8.231 Physics of Solids I, Fall 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 09 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Fall 2006

A synthetic bismuth crystal. The bottom front edge has a length of about 3.5cm. The irridescent color is created due to interference effects in a thin oxide layer, which forms when the hot crystal is pulled out of the bismuth melt. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Dschwen.)

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to the basic concepts of the quantum theory of solids.

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this section: .class.



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8.044 (Statistical Physics I) and 8.05 (Quantum Physics II)


The textbook for this class is:

Kittel, Charles. Introduction to Solid State Physics. 8th ed. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. ISBN: 9780471415268.

A useful reference is:

Ashcroft, Neil W., and N. David Mermin. Solid State Physics. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976. ISBN: 9780030839931.


There will be three in-class exams and a final exam. All exams are open-book and open-note exams.


There will be 10 problem sets, assigned roughly once a week.


In-class exams 30% (10% each)
Final exam 30%
Homework 40%


  • Periodic structure and symmetry of crystals
  • Diffraction, reciprocal lattice
  • Chemical bonding
  • Lattice dynamics
  • Phonons
  • Thermal properties
  • Free electron gas
  • Model of metals
  • Bloch theorem and band structure
  • Nearly free electron approximation
  • Tight binding method
  • Fermi surface
  • Semiconductors
  • Electrons
  • Holes
  • Impurities
  • Optical properties
  • Excitons
  • Magnetism


4 Problem set 1 due
7 Problem set 2 due
9 Problem set 3 due
10 Exam 1
14 Problem set 4 due
17 Problem set 5 due
19 Exam 2
23 Problem set 6 due
25 Problem set 7 due

Exam 3

Problem set 8 due

30 Problem set 9 due
36 Problem set 10 due
39 Final exam   Tell A Friend