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PX385 - Condensed Matter Physics

  • Module code: PX385
  • Module name: Condensed Matter Physics
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

To provide an understanding of phenomena in condensed matter, both from an experimental and theoretical perspective.

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students should: Understand that quantum and statistical mechanics are the basis for describing the physics of solids, and be able to apply the ideas to problems in condensed matter; Understand the role of the microscopic structure in determining the properties of macroscopic samples; Be able to explain magnetic and conductivity phenomena, and how to measure these experimentally.

Timetabled teaching activities

30 Lectures

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Condensed matter is matter in which particles have come together to form solids or fluids or nuclear matter (in nuclei and some stars). These are systems with large numbers particles interacting with each other. Of course we can't solve the full equations of motion for all these particles. Instead we construct and solve quantum and statistical mechanical models of their behaviour and test the predictions they make against experiment. In other words, we do physics. The module covers models of the energy levels of the electrons and ions in crystals, how these explain some of the materials' properties and how we measure them. One interesting aspect we will touch on is the role of collective excitations (where large numbers of the particles act in "unison"). These are behind such phenomena as magnetic ordering, superconductivity and the quantized Hall resistance observed in 2D semiconductors.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PX385-15)
B (Examination only) 2 hour examination (April) 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc) (F300) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Physics (with Intercalated Year) (F301) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc MMathPhys) (FG33) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc) (GF13) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (with Intercalated Year) (GF14) - Year 4