Course Info


PH575 Introduction to Solid State Physics, or an equivalent course in solid state physics.


The following questions are addressed during this 5 week module:

  • How are quantum effects such as the Pauli exclusion principle and electron wave interference manifested in solid state systems?
  • How does classical behavior such as bulk resistivity emerge from the underlying quantum mechanical description of electrons.
  • At what doping level does a semiconductor become a metal, a what level of disorder does a conductor become an insulator?
  • What are the “quantum engineering” principles that go into tunneling devices and superconducting devices?

Other student learning goals include:

  • recognizing connections between course material and current research.
  • articulating (writing/talking) arguments for/against physical models.
  • confidence to read scientific articles.
  • appreciating the breadth and beauty of electron transport phenomena.


Ethan Minot (rhymes with not)

  • Office hours: 2-4pm Thursday and by appointment

Meeting Times

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2pm to 3.20pm in 304 Weniger Hall (link to OSU course catalog)

This is 2 credit course squeezed into half of a quarter, therefore, we meet 4 hours per week.

Text books

Reading assignments will be given from several textbooks. Unfortunately/fortunately solid state physics is a fast moving field. Physics professors generally agree that no single graduate level text book does justice to the field as it stands today. On the timescale of 10 years, new subfields are created and older subfields are revitalized with new experimental and computational techniques. Fundamentals are best covered by Ashcroft and Mermin (the first-and-only edition is a classic from 1976). The best coverage of newer topics and explanations is found in Kittel (the 8th edition was released in 2005). You are expected to own a copy of at least one of these books, preferably both.


  • EITHER “Solid State Physics” by Ashcroft and Mermin (there is only one edition), try for a good price.
  • OR “Introduction to Solid State Physics” by Kittel, 8th edition.

Other books where the instructor finds useful material (roughly in order of usefulness for PH671).

  • “Mesoscopic Physics” by Cees Harmans download pdf (15MB)
  • “Solid-State Physics” by Ibach & Luth
  • “Condensed Matter Physics” by Marder, 1st edition (2nd edition might come out soon)
  • “Physics of semiconductor devices” by Sze
  • “Electronic structure of materials” by Sutton (there is only one edition)
  • “The electronic properties of disordered metals” by Dugdale
  • “Conduction in Non-Crystalline Materials” by Mott

Practice Problems

A useful list of practice problems for studying.

Web resources


Homework is due on Friday's at 5 pm. There is one “warm-up” homework and four full homeworks. When calculating your final grade, I will drop the lowest score on a full homework set. For example, if personal reasons force you to skip one homework, you won't be penalized.

Whenever possible, recent research articles will be used to motivate homework questions.


Homeworks 50%
Final 50%

link for instructors