SK3700 Mesoscopic Physics 8.0 credits

Mesoskopisk fysik

The course will give an introduction to a relatively new branch of Condensed Matter Physics, which deals with the properties of small systems – larger than single atoms or molecules, but smaller than bulk material – often called “nano structures”. These systems, like single atoms, can display quantum properties, but the variables one quantizes are variables typically used to describe classical, macroscopic properties. In the mesoscopic regime, new effects arise, such as: The quantization of electrical conductance, dissipation free currents in normal metal (non-superconducting), the Coulomb blockade of tunnel current in small capacitance structures and the single electron transistor, quantum electrodynamics and charge – flux duality in mesoscopic superconductors. Many of these phenomena form a new foundation for electronic devices.

  • Education cycle

    Third cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

At present this course is not scheduled to be offered.

Intended learning outcomes

The goal of this course is to communicate a basic understanding of electron transport in systems that are “coherent” in the quantum mechanical sense. Description of actual experiments and an overview of the research field is emphasized in the course. With a better understanding after the course you should be able to:

  • Compare new the new concepts of nano-electronics with the present-day technique, and understand their fundamental limits,
  • Use simple models to calculate the basic energy and length scales for mesoscopic phenomena which are physically relevant,
  • Identify various basic device concepts in a variety of physics systems.

Course main content

Classical transport and diffusion, ballistic transport and conductance quantization, Landauer formalism and coherent transport, gauge invariant phase and Aharonov-Bhom effect, weak and strong localization, Coulomb blockade, Mesoscopic superconductors, decoherence of a quantum system in its environment. Nanoelectronics, Nanomechanics, experimental methods and demonstrations.


Basic courses in electro-magnetism and quantum mechanics are required. Basic course in solid state physics (Kittel level) is recommended.


  • Supriyo Datta, Electron Transport in Mesoscopic Systems, Cambridge University Press.
  • Scientific articles.


  • Assignments, 6.0 credits, grade scale: P/F
  • Laboratory Work, 2.0 credits, grade scale: P, F

Requirements for final grade

The examination will be through home project assignments and passed lab exercises.

Offered by

SCI/Applied Physics


David B Haviland,


David B Haviland <>


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2011.