3.23 Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials

Fall 2007

The lattice of cesium bisulfate is shown.
Quantum modelling of the superprotonic phase of cesium bisulfate, CsHSO4. (Image courtesy of Brandon Wood and Nicola Marzari.)

Course Highlights

This class has a complete set of lecture notes annotated by the professor for the Electronic and Optical units. It also features problem sets and solutions for those topics.

Course Description

This class discusses the origin of electrical, magnetic and optical properties of materials, with a focus on the acquisition of quantum mechanical tools. It begins with an analysis of the properties of materials, presentation of the postulates of quantum mechanics, and close examination of the hydrogen atom, simple molecules and bonds, and the behavior of electrons in solids and energy bands. Introducing the variation principle as a method for the calculation of wavefunctions, the course continues with investigation of how and why materials respond to different electrical, magnetic and electromagnetic fields and probes and study of the conductivity, dielectric function, and magnetic permeability in metals, semiconductors, and insulators. A survey of common devices such as transistors, magnetic storage media, optical fibers concludes the semester.

Note: The Magnetics unit was taught by co-instructor David Paul; that material is not available at this time.

Donate Now


Prof. Nicola Marzari
Prof. David Paul

Course Meeting Times

2 sessions / week
1.5 hours / session

1 session / week
1 hour / session