Fall Semester 2011
course web page
Instructor: Philip B. Allen (
office Physics B-146;  office hours: tba
The class will meet in Physics B-131, MWF 10:40-11:35 am

carbon 60 molecule
This robust form of carbon (C60) remains intact when cooled into a crystal.  Discovered by Kroto and Smalley.  P. W. Stephens and L. Mihaly did important early research on solid phases.  Zeilinger et al. did quantum interference experiments.
metcar molecule

This nice molecule (Mo8C12) only exists in gas phase. It reacts to make other compounds in condensed phases.  Disovered in molecular beams by Castleman et al., drawn by J. Muckerman

course schedule
midterm exam Friday Oct. 21
2004 final exam
2007 final exam
answers to 2007 final exam
Final exam Tuesday Dec. 13,
11:15 am-1:45pm
Note: lecture notes will be posted on "Blackboard"
Notes (pdf format)
numbers to memorize
equations to memorize
shell model and long-range forces
phonon notes
linear response theory
creation operators
2nd quantized notations
mean field & Hartree Fock theory

2x2 matrix algebra (BCS)
assignment schedule
Homework #1 due Fri. Sept. 9
Homework #2 due Fri. Sept. 16
Homework #3 due Fri. Sept. 23
Homework #4 due Fri. Oct. 7
Homework #5 due Fri. Oct. 14
Homework #6 due Mon. Oct. 31
Homework #7 due Wed. Nov. 9
Homework #8 due Fri. Nov. 18
Homework #9 due Fri. Dec. 9
Tat-Sang Choy's Fermi surface
data base; periodic table of the Fermi surfaces.
The text is H. Ibach and H Luth, Solids State Physics: An Introduction to Principles of Materials Science, 4nd Ed. (Springer 2009).  For other recommended books, see the book list.
character tables of point group representations
pedagogical examples of using character tables

Nanowires, nanorods, and nanotubes are a wonderful area lying nicely between solid state and molecular physics.  Chemical reactions catalyzed on the surface of nanoparticles like these are a hot area of research.
This Penrose tile is a 2-D example of a quasicrystal.  There is perfect long-range order and no periodicity in the normal sense.


Bulletin Description: This course concentrates on the basic notions of solid state physics, treated mostly within the single-particle approximation. Main topics include: crystal lattices and symmetries, reciprocal lattice and state counting, phonons, electron energy band theory, bonding and cohesion (semi-quantitatively), electron dynamics and electron transport in metals and semiconductors, screening, optical properties of solids, and an introduction to magnetism. Additional topics not mentioned in the bulletin description: superconductivity, a little nanophysics and surface physics.

Prerequisite:  It is assumed that students are familiar with quantum mechanics at the level of one semester of graduate quantum mechanics, or passage of the qualifying exam part I in physics, or a graduate level course in physical chemistry.  Similar knowledge of statistical mechanics and electromagnetism is expected.  A prior course in solid state physics is NOT a prerequisite, but students who have never studied this subject before should please buy a copy of Kittel's book "Introduction to Solid State Physics" and read the chapters in this book while PHY 555 covers the corresponding material at a more advanced level.

Syllabus for Fall 2011

I. Aims of the course: To give an introduction to the modern study of solids, both theoretical and experimental.

II. Procedures and Requirements: Attendance at lecture is required except when excused for cause.  There will be homework problems assigned (7-10 problem sets over the semester.)

III. Grading: Homeworks will be graded and returned.  A=good, B=passing; C=unsatisfactory.  The final grade will be 40% homework and attendance, 20% midterm, and 40% final exam.  If the final exam grade is a significant improvement over the midterm exam grade, a corresponding upward adjustment will be made in the midterm exam grade.

IV Required text: H. Ibach and H Luth, Solids State Physics: An Introduction to Principles of Materials Science, 4nd Ed. (Springer 2009)

V. Americans with Disabilities Act:  If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC(Educational Communications Center) Building, Room 128, (631)632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

VI. Academic Honesty:  Discussions with faculty and fellow students are strongly encouraged, but work which is submitted for grading must be in your own words.  You should review the definition of plagiarism.  Here are the provost's word:

Academic Integrity: Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary.  For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at

VII. Critical Incident Management: Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of University Community Standards any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn. Faculty in the HSC Schools and the School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures. Further information about most academic matters can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin, the Undergraduate Class Schedule, and the Faculty-Employee Handbook.

last revised 08/15/2011 P. B. Allen