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Before choosing course

The course focuses on properties of electro technically important crystalline materials. An introduction with illustrations can be found at the course homepage.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
* Retrieved from Course syllabus IM2651 (Autumn 2008–)

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Condensed matter consists of a very large number of interacting entities and their physical properties, and these can be atoms, ions, electrons, spin etc. Studying this is essential to understand the properties of solids and thereby the design of electronic materials.  The specific topics that will be covered are crystal structure, reciprocal lattice, crystal binding, lattice dynamics, theory of free electrons, distributions, energy bands, semiconductors, Fermi-surfaces, magnetism and superconductivity. At the beginning of the course, a brief overview covering some relevant concepts and formalisms in quantum mechanics and atomic physics will be given. This is intended only for recapitulating the basic concepts and to get familiar with notations/terms that will be used in the remainder of the course. Concerning the main topics of the course (listed above), we will follow the prescribed course book, Introduction to solid state physics by Charles Kittel, and hand-outs given at the tutorials and on selected lecture topics. All the listed topics will be covered in detail except Magnetism and Superconductivity which will be at a more introductory level. These will be dealt extensively in other follow-up courses. During the course, we will also be emphasizing how a variety of physical phenomena can be understood by analyzing the problem in the so-called k-space (also referred to as wave-vector space, reciprocal lattice). You will be introduced to this powerful formalism and its application to understand diffraction of waves (e.g. X-rays, neutrons, electrons) by crystals, the properties of phonons (ref. lattice vibrations) and finally the behavior of electrons in a periodic potential. In addition, special lectures will be given on current research topics such as semiconductor low-dimensional structures and photonic crystals. These lectures are intended to highlight the importance/relevance of the course and also to appreciate how certain formalisms/concepts that one comes across in the study of crystalline solids can be applied in very different contexts, e.g. behavior of light in periodic dielectric media, of course noting the fundamental differences and similarities.

Intended learning outcomes

This course gives an introduction to solid state physics with emphasis on properties of electro-technically important crystalline materials. The primary theme is to study the basic theory of structure, composition and physical properties of crystalline materials.  At the end of the course, you should be able to•describe different types of crystal structures in terms of the crystal lattice and the basis of constituent atoms •formulate the theory of X-ray diffraction in the reciprocal lattice (k-space) formalism and apply this knowledge to generalize the formulation for matter waves•describe the different physical mechanisms involved in crystal binding identifying the repulsive and attractive interactions and correlate these with the atomic  properties•formulate the theory of lattice vibrations (phonons) and use that to determine thermal properties of solids •formulate the problem of electrons in a periodic potential, examine its consequence on the band-structure of the solid and develop a framework that explains the physical properties of solids in terms of its band-structure•apply the knowledge obtained to make a judicious choice of a solid in terms of its desired property•identify the materials encountered in the course in a representative modern device/component, analyze why these are used and propose better alternatives if necessary•follow the thread in progressive improvements made to model the physical properties of solids and at each stage explain why they are necessary, what added knowledge is obtained and what draw-backs still remain•recognize that the developed k-space formalism to describe phonons, electrons, is more general and can be used to describe waves in a periodic media and identify such ‘out-of-the-course’ physical situations/problems.

Course Disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Courses of the technology science block or equivalent; familiarilty with basic quantum mechanics. For master-program students, basic requirements as specified for admission.

Recommended prerequisites

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Introduction to Soild State Physics, Charles KittelUpplaga:  Förlag: John Wiley and Sons Inc. År: 2005ISBN: 0-471-68057-5 

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory Course, 1,5 hp, betygsskala: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 6,0 hp, betygsskala: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

1: WRITTEN EXAMExamination Scheme:Passing the exam fetches you 6 credits. The written exam will be evaluated on a maximum number of 24 units. These are split: Part 1- descriptive and derivations (12 units) and Part 2 - Problems/ calculations (12 units).Of these, you have to get a minimum of 4 units in each category. Part I: Course book, lecture notes or your own notes, lap-top/pocket computers: NOT ALLOWEDPart II: Kittel’s book, calculator, mathematical handbook: ALLOWEDMinimum points required to pass the exam: 12 units CONTROL EXAMS:During the course, there will be two control exams, each of 45 min duration. Having all answers correct fetches you a maximum of 6 units. Thus the evaluation for the course (exam)  will be based on a total of 30 units. GRADESGrade 5: above 20; Grade 4: above 16; Grade 3: 12 -16.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Profile picture Sebastian Lourdudoss

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

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Offered by

ICT/Semiconductor Materials

Main field of study

Electrical Engineering

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

The courses of the bloc Electronics.


Anand Srinivasan