Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy


Special Topics Course:
Berry Phases in Electronic Structure Theory

Prof. David Vanderbilt
Office: Serin E291
Phone: 848-445-9049
Office Hours: By arrangement


End-of-semester announcements:


General Information

In the last two decades, it has become increasingly clear that the concepts of Berry phases and Berry curvatures play an important role in many aspects of modern solid-state physics. In this course I will provide a tutorial background on the mathematical concepts, and then show how they apply to a variety of problems in theoretical condensed-matter physics.

The topics to be covered tentatively include:

Lectures: Lectures will be on Mondays and Wednesdays 1:40-3:00pm in SEC-206. However, because of my travel schedule, some lectures will be rescheduled for Fridays at 2:00-3:20pm. A tentative schedule is posted here.

Textbook: The primary text will be my recently published book, Berry Phases in Electronic Structure Theory:
Electric Polarization, Orbital Magnetization and Topological Insulators

but other sources will be recommended as appropriate. A tentative list of relevant Books and Review Articles is provided here.

Syllabus: The syllabus focuses mainly on theoretical topics, working in the framework of single-particle Hamiltonians for crystalline systems.

Prerequisites: Graduate Quantum Mechanics (Physics 501-502 or equivalent) and the first semester of Graduate Solid State Physics (Physics 601 or equivalent).

Homeworks and other assignments: Homework problems will be a mix of some problems requiring an analytic hand-written solution, while others will involve the use of the PythTB ("Python Tight Binding") code for the purpose of exploring the properties of simple tight-binding models that illustrate the issues discussed in class. In addition, I intend for there to be a final project that will involve writing a paper, or writing (or expanding) a Wikipedia article, on a topic related to the course.

Course Policies and Student Resources: Please read here for departmental and university information on various topics including

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