Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y N
Course Code PHYS4551
Date2023/09/24 21:21
Enquiry for Course Details
PHYS4551 Solid state physics (6 credits) Academic Year 2023
Offering Department Physics Quota ---
Course Co-ordinator Prof S Z Zhang, Physics < shizhong@hku.hk >
Teachers Involved (Prof S Z Zhang,Physics)
Course Objectives This course covers a broad introduction to modern theory of the solid state physics. Some selected advanced topics will also be discussed.  This is an elective course for the theoretical and experimental physics themes.  This is also an essential course for those who plan to pursue postgraduate studies in condensed matter, solid state physics and material science or to work in related industries.
Course Contents & Topics Topics include: Crystal structures and symmetry; the reciprocal lattice and X-ray diffraction; lattice vibration and thermal properties; free electron of metals; band structures and Bloch theory; nearly free electrons and tight binding approximations; semi-classical model of electron dynamics; Boltzmann equation; transport and optical properties of metals and semiconductors; interaction and collective excitations. If time permits, magnetism and superconductivity will also be covered.
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 demonstrate knowledge for crystal structures and characterization
CLO 2 describe the behavior of solid matter and explain the underlying physical concepts
CLO 3 apply physical principles and mathematical equations to discuss the physical properties of materials
CLO 4 discuss the physics of metals, semiconductors, and superconductivity
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
Pass in (PHYS2255 or PHYS2261) and PHYS3351
Course Status with Related Major/Minor /Professional Core 2023 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2023 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2022 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2022 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2021 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2021 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2020 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2020 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2019 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Disciplinary Elective )
2019 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
Course to PLO Mapping 2023 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2022 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2021 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2020 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2019 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,2,3,4 >
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y        2nd sem    Examination May     
Offer in 2024 - 2025 Y
Course Grade A+ to F
Grade Descriptors
A Demonstrate thorough mastery at an advanced level of extensive knowledge and skills required for attaining all the course learning outcomes. Show strong analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, with evidence of original thought, and ability to apply knowledge to a wide range of complex, familiar and unfamiliar situations. Apply highly effective organizational and presentational skills.
B Demonstrate substantial command of a broad range of knowledge and skills required for attaining at least most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to familiar and some unfamiliar situations. Apply effective organizational and presentational skills.
C Demonstrate general but incomplete command of knowledge and skills required for attaining most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to most familiar situations. Apply moderately effective organizational and presentational skills.
D Demonstrate partial but limited command of knowledge and skills required for attaining some of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some coherent and logical thinking, but with limited analytical and critical abilities. Show limited ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Apply limited or barely effective organizational and presentational skills.
Fail Demonstrate little or no evidence of command of knowledge and skills required for attaining the course learning outcomes. Lack of analytical and critical abilities, logical and coherent thinking. Show very little or no ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Organization and presentational skills are minimally effective or ineffective.
Communication-intensive Course N
Course Type Lecture-based course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Lectures 36
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self study 80
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Assignments 20 CLO 1,2,3,4
Examination 2-hour written exam 50 CLO 1,2,3,4
Test 30 CLO 1,2,3,4
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
Supplementary lecture notes provided by Course Coordinator.
C. Kittel: Introduction to solid state physics (John Wiley, 1996).
N.W. Ashcroft and D.N. Mermin: Solid state physics (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1987).
Course Website http://moodle.hku.hk
Additional Course Information NIL
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