Physics 406: Introductory Solid State Physics


quantum corral

Charge ordering in magic angle graphene

Buckling transition in graphene

Fractional quantum Hall effect

Twisted bilayer graphene

Spring 2022

Tuesday, Thursday 3:50 - 5:10 p.m., ARC 206

In Person OR  on-line lectures via Zoom


Lecturer:  Prof. Eva Y. Andrei

Email: eandrei AT physics.rutgers.edu

Office Hours:  by appointment


Grader: Phil  Rechani
Email:  pjr93 ATphysics.rutgers.edu



This  one-semester course  introduces the physics of matter that we encounter in everyday life.  You will learn how the arrangement of atoms and their chemical properties are responsible for whether a material feels cold or hot, whether it conducts electricity, whether it is transparent or opaque, how it can conduct heat, and many other phenomena you may have wondered about but never dared to ask.  We will study the statics and dynamics of crystal lattices, electron transport in electric and magnetic fields, the band theory of solids and its realization in graphene, and the emergence of superconductivity as an example of quantum collective phenomena.  We will see how understanding the behavior of matter at microscopic scales led to amazing technological applications that too often we take for granted. We will spend roughly the first two-thirds of the course developing the pillars of condensed matter physics: electronic transport, crystals, and band structure. We will then highlight basic ideas underlying several areas of current research: graphene, semiconductors, and superconductors. The course will primarily provide an introduction and overview. If you continue in physics, you will see these topics in more depth in further undergraduate and graduate courses.

Course Objectives:

  • Provide an introduction to the physics of quantum materials
  • Provide a solid grounding for more advanced  courses on the properties of condensed matter
  • Provide the background and  tools to understand publications and research articles in this field
  • To demonstrate the links with Quantum Mechanics, Thermal and Statistical Physics.
  • Inspire you to delve deeper into the subject


C. Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics, 8th edition (John Wiley & Sons 2005).

S.H.Simon, The Oxford Solid State Basics (Oxford University Press 2013).

N. W. Ashcroft and N. D. Mermin, Solid State Physics (Saunders College Publishing)


H. Ibach and H Luth. Solid-State Physics. 4th edition (Springer 2009)

Pre-requisites and grading

  • Familiarity with basic principles of quantum mechanics (Schroedinger equation, energy quantization, tunneling, spin).
  • A quantum mechanics course (361, 417 or similar) and electromagnetism (386 or similar). 
  • Knowledge of basics of statistical physics (classical statistics, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics). 


Homework (30%)

Assignments due weekly at the beginning of Monday's class

In class participation and quizzes (10%)

  • Reading Quizzes: After each reading assignment there may be a  short quiz at the beginning of class covering the reading assignment
  • In-class clicker questions: During class there will be  questions for which you enter your response using clickers.  Your answers will be recorded and you will receive 1 point towards your in-class grade per class for submitting any answer to all of the questions, whether or not your answers are correct.  There may also be a few graded quizes during the semester.  Such graded questions will usually be late in the class and ones that nearly all students get correct if they have been paying attention.

Exams (20%, 30% )

One Midterm and one Final. 

Reading project and Oral presentation (10%)

A  reading project of your choice on a topic of contemporary solid state physics. 
Each student will chose an independent study topic  and present it to the class at the end of the semester. Students will have 12 minutes to present (about 10-15 ppt slides) and 10 minutes to respond to questions.

With this grading system, the most important requirement for getting a good grade is to do all the homework assignments and participate in class!  Missing several weeks of class and homework could put you in danger of failing, no matter how well you do on the exams! Your lowest weekly homework score and your 2 lowest in-class participation scores will be thrown out, so you can miss one week of homework and two classes without penalty.  There will be no make-up homework or exams. These throw-outs  are made to cover illness, car trouble, forgotten clickers, participation in athletic events, etc...  There will be no other corrections made to grades other than for major medical or personal emergencies.  Also, try not to waste your homework or class exemptions early in the semester, because you may need them later if you get sick, forget your clicker, or for other reasons.


  • All course materials and announcements will be posted on Canvas
  • We will use i-clicker  in class. Follow this link for purchasing and registering your i-clicker.


Code of conduct:

  • Students are required to arrive to class on time
  • NO cellphones, no newspapers, no non-course-related computer activities allowed in class
  • Course materials are proprietary  - no  sharing outside of class, no publishing  on line any of the course materials
  • All students are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported.
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Efficient learning practices

1. People understand concepts by seeing, discussing, and applying them, not by passively listening to explanations.
2. Understanding physics (& solving problems that develop understanding)  is a learned skill, like swimming or playing basketball or violin.

    It takes time, effort, and practice. Research says better retention if sustained effort rather than cramming.

3. People learn best by sharing and getting feedback on their thinking

            -- Student-student more often than student-faculty.

4. Students learn most when they take the responsibility for what is learned.


We provide you with opportunities to help you learn

But ultimately Learning only comes as a result of your own effort!
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How to succeed in 406
The amount you will learn depends on how much thought and practice you put in, distributed sensibly over the semester. 

  Before class
  • Read assigned chapter before class
  • Attempt end of chapter conceptual questions

In class

  • Beginning of class there may be Reading Quizz - no makeup
  • Arrive a few minutes EARLY to  class and don't leave before end of class.
  • In class participation, explore, analyze new concepts, develop basic ideas and understanding.
  • NO cellphones, no newspapers, no non-course-related computer activities allowed in class

After class

  • Master and retain ideas through extensive use.  Expect to spend ~ 6 hrs/week on Homework and reading.
  • Discuss concepts, ideas, problems with peers. Collaboration GOOD but submit your OWN homework
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Academic Integrity


Student are expected to maintain the highest level of academic integrity.  You should be familiar with the university policy on academic integrity: http://academicintegrity.rutgers.edu/academic-integrity-policy/  Violations will be reported and enforced according to this policy.


Use of external sources to obtain solutions to homework assignments or exams is cheating and a violation of the University Academic Integrity policy. Cheating in the course may result in penalties ranging from a zero on an assignment to an F for the course, or expulsion from the University.  Posting of homework assignments, exams, recorded lectures, or other lecture materials to external sites without the permission of the instructor is a violation of copyright and constitutes a facilitation of dishonesty, which may result in the same penalties as explicit cheating.


Not only does the use of such sites violate the University policy on Academic Integrity, using such sites interferes with your achievement of the learning you are paying tuition for. Assignments, quizzes, and exams are given not simply to assign grades, but to promote the active learning that occurs through completing assignments on your own.  Getting the right answer is much less important than learning how to get the right answer.  This learning is critical to your success in subsequent courses and your careers.


Student wellness services

Student Counseling, ADAP & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) wellness for non-emergency psychological health issues services (848) 932-7884, 17 Senior Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 http://health.rutgers.edu/medical-counseling-services/counseling/

Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance (VPVA), (848) 932-1181, 3 Bartlett Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901,  http://www.vpva.rutgers.edu/

Office of Disability Services (848) 445-6800, Lucy Stone Hall, Suite A145, Livingston, 54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854, https://ods.rutgers.edu/

Scarlet Listeners for confidential peer counseling and referral hotline,  (732) 247-5555,  http://www.scarletlisteners.com

Canvas course website
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