We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Physics

PHYS4151 Advanced Condensed Matter Physics (2013/14)

Details of the module's prerequisites, learning outcomes, assessment and contact hours are given in the official module description in the Faculty Handbook - follow the link above.  A detailed description of the module's content is given below, together with book lists and a link to the current library catalogue entries.  For an explanation of the library's categorisation system see


Biological Physics

Dr E.H.C. Bromley

12 lectures in Michaelmas Term


Additonal: Physical Biology of the Cell, R. Phillips, J, Kandev and J. Theriot (Taylor and Francis, 2009)

Syllabus: An overview of the building blocks of biology and the forces that dictate their interactions. The structure of biomacromolecules from random walk to protein crystal structures. Motility and diffusion in the low Reynolds number limit. Aggregating self-assembly in biology including virus assembly, cytoskeletal assembly and disease related assembly. Proteins as molecular machines including enzymes and motors. Bulk biophysical techniques including static and dynamic scattering techniques and sedmintation. Single molecule techniques including AFM, TIRF and fluorescence. Advanced microscopy techniques.

Low Dimensional Solids

Dr M.R.C. Hunt

12 lectures in Michaelmas and Epiphany Term


Additional: The Physics of Low Dimensional Semiconductors, J.H. Davies (CUP)
Additional: Introduction to Solid State Physics, C. Kittel (Wiley, 8th edition)
Additional: Physics and Chemistry of Solids, S.R. Elliott (Wiley)

Syllabus: Definition of low dimensional solids, relevant length and energy scales for manifestation of quantum confinement. Physical realisation of low dimensional structures: brief overview of the production of quantum dots, wires, nanotubes, graphene and semiconductor heterostructures. Zero dimensional solids: density of states in zero dimensions; optical properties of metallic and semiconducting quantum dots; electronic transport in zero dimensions: Coulomb blockade, Kondo effect, superconducting dots; applications of zero dimensional solids (emphasis on electronic/optical properties, e.g. single electron transistor, semiconductor nanocrystals as biological labels). One dimensional solids: density of states in one dimension: subbands and van Hove singularities, periodic boundary conditions in nanotubes; the special case of the 1D Fermi surface: Coulomb interaction and lattice coupling in 1D metals (breakdown of Fermi liquid behaviour, Peierls distortion); transport in one dimension: transport regimes, phase coherence, Landauer formula, resonant tunnelling, universal conductance fluctuations, localisation; quantised vibrations, heat capacity and thermal transport in one dimension; applications of one dimensional solids. Two dimensional solids: density of states and the Fermi surface in two dimensions; confinement in two dimensions: graphene and real (finite-depth) potential wells in semiconductor heterostructures; transport in two dimensional solids: conductivity of a two dimensional electron gas, subband filling; magneto-transport in two dimensions: resistivity and conductivity tensors, Büttiker-Landauer formalism, integer quantum Hall effect; applications of two-dimensional solids.

Optical Devices

Prof A.P. Monkman

12 Lectures in Epiphany Term


Syllabus: Review of the general theories of light/matter interaction: classical and quantum. Correspondence of the quantised nature of confined light-wave modes with one-dimensional matter wave solutions to the Schrödinger equation. Optical properties of materials, particularly doped semiconductors. Semiconductor (p-n) junctions. Optoelectronic devices using the semiconductor p-n junction: Photovoltaic/photoconductive detectors; Solar cell; Light emitting diode, (Franz Keldysh effect) Electro-absorption modulator. Optical waveguide devices: Passive devices (power splitters/combiners); Active devices (electro-optic/thermo-optic modulators, attenuators).


3 lectures in Easter Term, one by each lecturer.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 2 one-hour lectures per week

Problem exercises: See