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Winter semester 2020/2021


Advanced Solid State Physics

Days and hours:

  • The lecture will be completely online, except for the exam. Lectures will be provided as prerecorded videos via Blackboard. Question sessions addressing the content of each lecture as well as the exercise discussions are held by videoconferencing (Webex). The links are provided on Blackboard
  • Live question sessions:
    • Tuesdays and Fridays at 12:15 hrs.
    • Videoconference, max. until 14:00 hrs.
    • First session: 03. November 2020
  • Online exercises:
    • In small groups, either Tuesdays 16:15–18:00 hrs. or Wednesdays 08:15–10:00 hrs.
    • Videoconference
    • Start of exercise groups: 10./11. November 2020

Target Group:

Students in the Master course "Physics" or related Master courses. Knowledge in fundamental solid state physics is of advantage, but not a prerequirement for the course. Subjects from fundamental solid state physics will be briefly repeated during the lecture, such that students who have not previously taken an introductory solid state course may use the opportunity to acquire the missing knowledge from textbooks. This will, of course, require more time of self-studies compared to students who had already taken an introductory course on solid state physics. The latter ones will also benefit from the brief repeats, which will roughly amount to three times two lectures in the entire semester.

Type of Study:

Lecture with accompanying exercises (Examination) (Details). 


Important! Students in the Master course "Physics" have to register until 20. November 2020 in the Campus Management System for both, the lecture and the exercises, in order to take the module.

Registration to the exercise groups: In addition, please register until 06. November for one of the two exercise groups. Please be aware: This registration is only for organizational purposes and does not substitute the registration in the Campus Management System! Registration for the exercise groups is through Blackboard. Select the course, then go to "Users and groups", select "Groups", then register for one of the listed groups that has still places available.


The condition for the successful active participation in the module is the successful solution of at least 50% of practice exercises and (once in the semester) the presentation of an exercise solution in the videoconference of the exercise group. Successful completion of the whole module includes, in addition, passing the written exam. Exercise tasks are published every week on Blackboard and have to be solved and submitted electronically by the students. The submission deadline for the solutions is mentioned on the respective exercises. 

Every two students from the same exercise group may submit a joint solution. In this case, both students will get the credit for correct solutions. Please enter both names on the solution. The one submitting it via Blackboard is responsible for the final editing. This responsibility should be about balanced between the two partners over the semester. It is, of course, also possible to submit individual solutions. 

Master students who have fulfilled the active participation in this module already in a previous semester do not need to participate in the exercises again, but may do so.


The grade for the module will be determined by a written exam at the university.

  • Date of the exam: 01. March 2021. Time for the exam: 90 minutes (12:15 until 13:45 hrs.). Please be present at 12 o'clock sharp!
  • Allowed resources (please bring with you): Non-programmable calculator, 2 sheets (four pages) of A4 paper with hand-written notes.
  • Place: Big Lecture Hall (R. 0.3.12), Arnimallee 14
  • Please do not forget to bring a personal document (passport, ID card) for the exam!

A repeat exam is offered on April 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in the big lecture hall of the physics department (room 0.3.12, Arnimallee 14). Please see the announcements in Blackboard for further details. Everyone who is taking the course for the first time can participate in the repeat exam, even if the first exam was already successfully passed. In that case, the exam with the better grade counts. Students who were taking the course already in the past winter semester can participate in the exam or repeat exam only if they have not yet passed the exam.

Students other than master students of physics who cannot register in the Campus Management System and who want to participate in the exam have to send an e-mail before November 30th to kuch@physik.fu-berlin.de, stating their name, matriculation number, and course of study.

Credit Points:

  • Ten credit points are awarded for the successful completion of the module "Advanced Solid State Physics". 
  • Students of the master course in physics and students of other courses who can register for the module through the Campus Management System will get the certification about the exam and the regular and active participation in the exercises directly there. All other students will get a paper certificate. 
  • If you need a paper certificate in addition to the certification in the Campus Management System, please send an e-mail to Marion Badow.


The lecture videos, lecture notes, material for the lecture, and the exercise tasks will be provided online via Blackboard. Login to Blackboard requires a valid ZEDAT account. To get access, please register for the module in the Campus Manegement System (registration may be revoked later until November 20th). All students who are registered in the Campus Management System for the course automatically have access to the course material on Blackboard. Participants inscribed into other programs than the master program in physics who cannot register for the course in the Campus Management System can send an access request.


The lecture aims to establish a link between the fundamentals of solid state physics and specialized lectures on actual research topics. The following topics will be covered:

  • Structure of solids, thin films, and surfaces
    • Examination of crystalline structure by diffraction techniques (X-ray diffraction, neutron diffraction, low-energy electron diffraction)
    • Influence of temperature, disorder, and finite sample size on diffraction patterns
    • Microscopic imaging of crystalline structure (electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy)
  • Electronic states in 3, 2, and 1 dimensions
    • Electronic band structure in 3, 2, and 1 dimensions
    • Examination of electronic states by photoelectron spectroscopy
    • Quantum well states
    • Quantum stability
  • Magnetism, phase transitions
    • Magnetic order and phase transitions
    • Examination of magnetic properties by magnetometry and magnetic spectroscopy
    • Critical behavior, critical exponents
    • Magnetic anisotropies
    • Magnetic domains, micromagnetism
    • Coupling phenomena, magnetoresistance, principles of spin electronics

The course program will cover the basics of each topic but likewise discuss current methods and problems of solid state physics. The relevant experimental techniques will be introduced and discussed, using examples from actual research.


  • J. R. Hook and H. E. Hall, "Solid State Physics", Wiley
  • Ph. Hofmann, "Solid State Physics", Wiley-VCH
  • C. Kittel, "Introduction to Solid State Physics", Wiley
  • N. W. Ashcroft and N. D. Mermin, "Solid state physics", Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  • J. S. Blackmore, "Solid State Physics", Cambridge University Press
  • Hans Lüth: "Solid surfaces, interfaces and thin films", Springer
  • Th. Fauster, L. Hammer, K. Heinz, and M. A. Schneider, "Surface Physics", De Gruyter
  • D. P. Woodruff and T. A. Delchar, "Modern techniques of surface science", Cambridge University Press
  • Andrew Zangwill, "Physics at surfaces", Cambridge University Press
  • J. A. C. Bland and B. Heinrich (Eds.), "Ultrathin magnetic structures", Springer