The University of Southampton

PHYS3004 Crystalline Solids

Module Overview

This course builds upon the Second Year Quantum Physics of Matter Course (PHYS2024) to form a complete basic course on the fundamentals of the physics of solids. After the course the student should have developed the necessary theoretical knowledge to enable them to understand and explain some of the most important properties of materials such as their melting temperature, electronic properties and magnetism. The course will also provide the necessary grounding to allow students to move onto more advanced topics and research in this industrially and academically important field.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The course aims to apply theories of classical and quantum physics in order to investigate how atoms interact in condensed matter and how crystalline solids are formed.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • explain and predict a wide range of the important properties of materials such as bonding, magnetism, electronic transport
  • Be able to explain how certain experimental data has led to the development of the basic theories of condensed matter physics and the boundaries of the applicability of these theories
  • Be equipped to go deeper into condensed matter physics either by further advanced courses or research
  • Have some understanding of why condensed matter physics is interesting and important to society.


- Understand qualitatively the nature of bonding in solids. In particular, covalent, metallic, ionic, van der Waals and hydrogen bonding. - Understand the scattering of x-rays, neutrons and electrons from a solid. - Understand the concept of the crystal lattice, reciprocal lattice and Brillouin zones. - Understand the formation of electronic bands in solids from atomic orbital’s and to be able to apply simple tight binding theory to understand the band structure of simple semiconductors and metals. And as part of this, to understand Bloch's theory and how the tight-binding and nearly free electron models of electronic bands inter-relate. - Developed an understanding of the basic forms of magnetic properties in materials, i.e. diamagnetism, paramagnetism, ferromagnetism and anti-ferromagnetism, and be able to apply simple models to measurements of magnetic properties. - Also to have a basic understanding of the formation of domains and the effect of pinning of domain walls in ferromagnets. Understand the nature of doping in semiconductors and how this can be used to create simple semiconductor devices.

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice61
Follow-up work18
Completion of assessment task7
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

H P Myers (1977). Introductory Solid State Physics. 

N.W. Ashkroft and N.D. Mermin (1988). Solid State Physics. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 90%
Problem Sheets 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework marks carried forward %
Exam %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

PHYS2024Quantum Physics of Matter
PHYS2003Quantum Physics
PHYS2006Classical Mechanics
PHYS2022Physics from Evidence I
PHYS2023Wave Physics
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