PHY-20026 - Statistical Mechanics and Solid State Physics
Coordinator: John K Taylor Tel: +44 1782 7 33494
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734921

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective





Successful completion of FHEQ Level 4 Physics or Astrophysics
Registration on FHEQ Level 5 of a degree programme in physics or astrophysics

Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

This module introduces students to lattice vibrations, to the determination of crystalline structure (Solid State Physics), and to techniques for describing the properties of large ensembles of particles using Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics (Statistical Mechanics), and the applications of these to the thermal, electrical and magnetic properties of solids. Students are introduced to a range of applications of these topics in both Physics and Astrophysics contexts.
The module also features a mathematics component.

This module aims to introduce the students to statistical mechanics and to solid-state physics and to give them the skills to solve the more straight forward problems and applications in these areas. It also contains an element of laboratory work aimed at enhancing experimental and team-working skills.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

describe and explain the importance of lattice vibrations in determining the properties of solids: 1,2,3
explain the classical and quantum models for free electrons in solids: 1,2,3
explain the origin of energy bands in solids: 1,2,3
explain the origin of the magnetic properties of solids: 1,2,3
describe the statistical treatment of large ensembles of particles: 1,2,3
apply the Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions to the properties of solids: 1,2,3
use appropriate mathematical techniques to solve physical problems: 1,2,3,4
outline the importance of crystal structure, and how to determine it: 1,2,3

Study hours

30 hours of lectures on Solid State Physics, Statistical Mechanics and Mathematics
14 hours problem classes on above topics
10 hours on solving problem sheets
2 hour unseen examination on Solid State Physics and Statistical Mechanics
1 hour unseen class test on Mathematics
93 hours examination revision/preparation and private study

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Unseen Exam weighted 60%
2 hour unseen examination
Section A: 10 short questions. Students to attempt all questions = contributes 40% of the exam paper; Section B: A choice of 2 questions out of 4 = contributes 60% of the exam paper.

2: Tutorial weighted 10%
Engagement with, and completion of, the assigned problems in problem classes
Problem classes covering Statistical Mechanics, Solid State Physics and Mathematics.

3: Problem Sheets weighted 10%
Four problem sheets
4 problem sheets with questions on Statistical Mechanics and Solid State Physics.

4: Class Test weighted 20%
1-hour class test on Mathematics
1-hour class test on Mathematical material.