Course Info


PH575 Introduction to Solid State Physics, or an equivalent course in solid state physics. Basic understanding of Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions (undergraduate thermal physics) Basic understanding of wavefunctions and Hamiltonians (undergrad quantum mechanics)


Ethan Minot (rhymes with not)

  • Office hours by appointment

Meeting Times

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 2 pm to 3.30 pm in 304 Weniger Hall

Text books


  • 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.

Reading assignments will be given from several textbooks. Unfortunately/fortunately solid state optics is a fast moving field. On the timescale of 10 years, new subfields are created and older subfields are revitalized with new experimental and computational techniques. Physics professors generally agree that no single graduate level text book does justice to the field as it stands today. 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.

Other books where the instructor finds useful material (roughly in order of usefulness for PH682)

  • “Optical Properties of Solids” Fox (Oxford Master Series in Cond. Mat. Physics)
  • “Fundamentals of Photonics” Saleh & Teich, 2nd edition.
  • “Optical Processes in Semiconductors” by Pankove
  • “Condensed Matter Physics” by Marder, 1st edition (2nd edition might come out soon)
  • “Introduction to Quantum Mechanics” by Griffiths
  • “Physics of semiconductor devices” by Sze
  • “Solid-State Physics” by Ibach & Luth
  • “Electronic structure of materials” by Sutton (there is only one edition)
  • “Classical Electrodynamics” by Jackson (3rd edition is most recent)

Web resources


Homework is due on Friday's at 5 pm. Your lowest homework score will be dropped.

Please contact the instructor if you would like to sign up for the course on a pass/not pass basis.

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


Homeworks 50%
Final 50%


The final is scheduled for Wednesday March 21 from 10.00-12.00pm in 304 Weniger.

You may bring a cheat sheet to the final: one-sided 8.5”x11” sheet. Write anything you want on the cheat sheet. You may also bring a calculator.

We are not following the Winter 2012 Finals Schedule.

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