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Winter semester 2021/2022


Advanced Solid State Physics

Days and hours:

  • Lecture:
    • Tuesdays and Fridays 12:15–14:00 hrs.
    • Room: Lecture Hall B (R. 0.1.01), Arnimallee 14.
      Since 14. December the lectures are also live-streamed via Webex (see Blackboard for the link).
    • First Lecture: 19. October 2021
  • Exercises:
    • In small groups, Wednesdays either 08:15–10:00 hrs. or 14:15–16:00 hrs.
    • From 15. December, the exercises at 08:15 will be online-only via Webex (see Blackboard for the link), while the exercises at 14:15 hrs. will remain in presence in Seminar Room E1 (R. 1.1.26), Arnimallee 14
    • Start of exercise groups: 27. October 2022

Target Group:

Students in the Master course "Physics" or related Master courses. Knowledge in fundamental solid state physics, such as it is typically covered in introductory courses on solid state physics, is of advantage, but not a strict prerequirement for the course. Subjects from fundamental solid state physics necessary for the course will be briefly repeated during the lecture, such that students may use the opportunity to acquire any missing basic knowledge from textbooks. This will, of course, require more time of self-studies compared to students with a good knowledge in fundamental solid state physics. The latter ones will still benefit from the brief repeats, which will roughly amount to three times one week in the entire semester.

Type of Study:

Lecture with accompanying exercises (Examination) (Details). The university plans the return to in-person teaching for the winter semester 2021/2022. Please check here for updated information and hygienic rules. In general, acess to the university buildings requires the proof of either a vaccination against the Corona virus, recovery from a Corona infection, or a daily negative test, according to the german "3G" regulation. Proof of the 3G status has to be shown at the entrance to the physics building. While rapid antigene tests have to be generally paid for from October 11, an exception exists for recently arrived students from outside Germany, for whom these tests will continue to be free of charge for the time being.

Course content for this lecture will in parallel to the in-presence lectures also be made available via Blackboard as prerecorded lecture videos from the winter semester 2020/2021. Questions can be asked also in written form in a Q&A forum. The requirements for the active participation in the exercises can also be fulfilled remotely upon request. While participation in the in-presence lectures and exercise classes is recommended, the module can in principle also be completed remotely, except for the exam at the end of the semester, for which presence on the campus is necessary in any case.


Important! Students in the Master course "Physics" have to register until 05. November 2021 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 24. October 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 done through Blackboard. Select the course, then go to "Users and groups", select "Groups", then register for only 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 homework practice exercises and (once in the semester) the presentation of an exercise solution in the exercise group. In case participants cannot attend the exercise groups in person due to pandemic-related reasons, remote presentation in hybrid form  can be agreed upon. 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 is determined by a written exam at the university.

  • Date of the exam: 22. February 2022. 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: to be announced
  • Please do not forget to bring an official personal document (passport, ID card) for the exam!

A repeat exam is offered on April 5, 2022 at 12:15 hrs. 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 5th 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 notes, lecture videos, 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 5th). All students who are registered in the Campus Management System for the course automatically have access to the course material on Blackboard. Only those participants who are inscribed into other programs than the master program in physics and who cannot register for the course in the Campus Management System should send an access request from the Blackboard system.


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

Several of the books from this list are available online for students of Freie Universität Berlin. Please see the information on Blackboard on how to gain access.