Solid-state physics studies how macroscopic properties of solids (mechanical, electrical, optical, etc.) result from their microscopic structure. It usually deals with the scale where quantum properties of the particles are substantial.

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What are “electron holes” in semiconductors?

I'm tutoring senior high school students. So far I've explained them the concepts of atomic structure (Bohr's model & Quantum mechanical model) very clearly. Now the next topic to be taught is ...
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How can the Hall effect ever show positive charge carriers?

The Hall effect can be used to determine the sign of the charge carriers, as a positive particle drifting along the wire and a negative particle drifting the other direction get deflected the same (as ...
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How is potential energy actually stored in a steel spring at the atomic level?

Elasticity is one the most intriguing phenomena, wiki gives a summary explanation of what happens in a steel spring: the atomic lattice changes size and shape when forces are applied (energy is ...
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What “propagates” a force through the rest of a solid?

So, in typing the title of this question I was recommended this awesome one, which confirmed my guess that this effect "propagates" at the speed of sound (though I just had a feeling, I don't really ...
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How does a knife cut things at the atomic level?

As the title says. It is common sense that sharp things cut, but how do they work at the atomical level?
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What is a $p_x + i p_y$ superconductor? Relation to topological superconductors

I often read about s-wave and p-wave superconductors. In particular a $p_x + i p_y$ superconductor - often mentioned in combination with topological superconductors. I understand that the overall ...
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Chemical potential

This is something probably very basic but I was led back to this issue while listening to a recent seminar by Allan Adams on holographic superconductors. He seemed very worried to have a theory at ...
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Why are some materials diamagnetic, others paramagnetic, and others ferromagnetic?

Why are some materials diamagnetic, others paramagnetic, and others ferromagnetic? Or, put another way, which of their atomic properties determines which of the three forms of magnetism (if at all) ...
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Why is copper diamagnetic?

Cu has an unpaired electron in 4s, but it is diamagnetic. I thought that it has to be paramagnetic. What am I missing?
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Why a mono-atomic crystal layer (2D) can't be stable?

According to Peierls and Landau, 2D crystals were thermodynamically unstable. They can't exist! Of course, this theory was disapproved in 2004 (example: graphene). What is the general definition of ...
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How Non-abelian anyons arise in solid-state systems?

Recently it has been studied non-abelian anyons in some solid-state systems. These states are being studied for the creation and manipulation of qubits in quantum computing. But, how these ...
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Proof of existence of lowest temperature $0 K$

Im mathematics there is a concept of infinity meaning that whenever you pick a number and say that it is the smallest/Largest there is a way to further reduce/increase that number by ...
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Shine a light into a superconductor

A type-I superconductor can expel almost all magnetic flux (below some critical value $H_c$) from its interior when superconducting. Light as we know is an electromagnetic wave. So what would happen ...
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Mathematical rigorous introduction to solid state physics

I am looking for a good mathematical rigorous introduction to solid state physics. The style and level for this solid state physics book should be comparable to Abraham Marsdens Foundations of ...
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Is glass a liquid?

I was told by a condensed matter physicist that glass is a liquid with a very high viscosity (it would be more precise to say that it is a supercooled liquid). The example given was that in cathedral ...
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567 views

How to calculate the properties of Photon-Quasiparticles

in recent questions like "How are classical optics phenomena explained in QED (Snell's law)?" and "Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?" we could learn something about effective ...
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The Spectral Function in Many-Body Physics and its Relation to Quasiparticles

recently, I stumbled accross a concept which might be very helpful understanding quasiparticles and effective theories (and might shed light on an the question How to calculate the properties of ...
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Stiffness tensor

Let's have a stiffness tensor: $$ a^{ijkl}: a^{ijkl} = a^{jikl} = a^{klij} = a^{ijlk}. $$ It has a 21 independent components for an anisotropic body. How does body symmetry (cubic, hexagonal ...
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What is the difference between Raman scattering and fluorescence?

What is the difference between Raman scattering and fluorescence? Both phenomena involve the emission of photons shifted in frequency relative to the incident light, because of some energetic ...
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Topological phase

Can anybody tell me, if generically any system, which is solely described by a topological field theory, resides in a topological phase? I cant find any clear notion of topological phase. Only ...
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Why does $c_{-k,-\sigma}$ create a particle with momentum $k$?

In Mudelung's book, Introduction to Solid-State Theory, I am confused by the following statement. For many applications a further simplification is helpful. The concept of the hole presents us ...
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Can Rydberg states exist within the bulk of a metal?

I am aware that outer shell electrons in rubidium atoms in an optical lattice can be excited to Rydberg levels, in which the electrons orbit well beyond the atoms to which they are bound. Is this ...
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Propagation of light in transparent media: absorption and reemission or scattering?

In the two Phys.SE questions What is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium? and Why glass is transparent? transparent media were discussed. But I'd like to clarify ...
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How can crystal structures be determined using X-ray diffraction?

You have the intensity peaks and the diffraction angles. Let's say you suspect the material is cubic, how do I find if it's simple cubic or BCC or FCC? I've googled and all my textbooks just state ...
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Intro to Solid State Physics

I didn't see this listed on the books page so here it is. I'm currently in an introductory Solid State course, and we are using Kittel's book. I have been having a rough time with this book although I ...
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Holes in a P-type semiconductor under external force E

Basically in almost every semiconductor texts, there will be all these concepts concerning electrons, holes, dopants, fermi-levels. However, I have been always confused about the picture of hole ...
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UV-VIS spectrometer on Solids

I ran an experiment using translucent single crystal solids. I modified the solids along the way using different chemical/temperature environments. After every stage, I ran the samples through a ...
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There must be free positive charges, moving oppositely to electrons for the wire with current to stay neutral

All popular expositions (e.g. these ones) of relativistic electromagnetism claim univocally that electrons in motion become more dense due to the speed. They teach that Lorentz contraction of charges ...
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What is Fermi surface and why is this concept so useful in metals research?

What is Fermi surface and why is this concept so useful in metals research? Particularly, I can somewhat appreciate the Fermi energy idea - the radius of Fermi surface which is a sphere. But is there ...
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Graphene and Klein bottle?

I am trying to understand graphene as a topological insulator. The spin orbital interaction in graphene is very small (~10mK?). But if we consider that, then graphene should be a topological ...
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Is there a method for differentiating fractional quantum Hall states aside from finding Chern numbers?

The ground state for a quantum Hall system on a torus with fractional filling factor can be classified by the Chern number, which is why the Hall conductance is quantized. Is there another method or ...
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Why does ice melts, waits for 100 degrees and THEN vaporises? Why is not the process of expansion of things continuous?

What I am asking is this: Why can't a body be solid, then solid-ish, then solid-like, then liquid-like, then liquid-ish, then liquid, then vapor-like and then vapor? Why is there a rigid temperature ...
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Can a superconducting wire conduct unlimited current?

A superconducting wire has no electrical resistance and as such it does not heat up when current passes through it. Non-superconducting wires can be damaged by too much current, because they get too ...
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Positrons versus holes as positive charge carriers

From Wikipedia: [The Dirac sea is a theoretical model of the vacuum as an infinite sea of particles with negative energy. It was first postulated by the British physicist Paul Dirac in 1930 to explain ...
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Why doesn't topological phase transition break any symmetry? Hidden symmetry?

This question may be superficial. However why all people saying this without a proof? Just like the "hidden variables" assumption in quantum mechanics, can one disproof that there is no hidden ...
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How is Meissner effect explained by BCS theory?

Someone says we can derive the GL equations from BCS theory, which can explain Meissner effect, but I want a more clear physical picture of this phenomena.
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Turned to steel in the great magnetic field

This is obviously a "fun" question, but I'm sure it still has valid physics in it, so bear with me. How great of a magnetic field would you need to transmute other elements into iron/nickel, if ...
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What determines the color of a pure substance and is it possible to predict it?

I have always wondered why salt is white, water is clear and gold is, well, gold. What determines the color of a substance? Does it have something to do with the electrons? And is it possible to ...
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What is the difference between a photon and a phonon?

More specifically, how does a wave-particle duality differ from a quasiparticle/collective excitation? What makes a photon a gauge boson and a phonon a Nambu–Goldstone boson?
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Pn junction voltage drop?

This image from wikipedia, explains that there occurs a potential drop across a pn semiconductor junction, and an electric field confined to the depletion region. I already know the reason for the ...
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Do we say that phonon has effective mass through its dispersion relation?

The effective mass is proportional to the second derivative of the dispersion relation d2k/dE2. Do we say that phonon have effective mass through it ? Spin wave have.
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Lagrangian of 2D square lattice of point masses connected by springs

Zee's QFT book mentions the Lagrangian of a square 2D horizontal lattice of point masses, connected by springs, and considering only vertical displacements $q_{i}$, as $ L = \frac{1}{2} ...
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Optical absorption — what are the common ranges and mechanisms?

So let's say you do some reflection/transmission spectroscopy of a material. It's clear that it's absorbing in some range. What would be your first step in identifying the source of the absorption? ...
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776 views

Why do some things crystallize? (And others don't, for that matter.)

Ice, for example, will form a crystal when frozen under certain circumstances. Why is this the case for ice? While on the subject of water crystallization, why do snowflakes usually form in base 6 ...
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Yet another question on the Lindhard function

Here's another question concerning the Lindhard function as used in the physical description of metals. First we define the general Lindhard function in the Random Phase approximation as ...
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Why isn't there a potential difference across a disconnected diode?

I know this question sounds silly, as if there was a potential difference a current would be created when the terminals are connected together and this would mean energy has come from somewhere. The ...
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Does heat radiation come from the nucleus or the electrons?

Is more of the thermal radiation due to acceleration of electrons or acceleration of the nuclei? Do electrons and nuclei carry the same fractions of thermal energy in a hot body?
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What are the six degrees of freedom of the atoms in a solid?

A monoatomic ideal gas has heat capacity $C_v=1.5$ which comes from the three translational degrees of freedom. For solids at high temperature, $C_v=3$, implying six degrees of freedom. What are ...
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Are there materials that get softer with temperature decrease?

Could be there material that begins melting/softening when it's temperature is lowered? I would say no, but I've seen enough physics to know that not always life is so easy. Moreover I think I've ...
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The skin effect and the reflectivity of gold

I am simulating a waveguide in COMSOL, a FEM solver. My model looks like this (it is similar to a standard Quantum Cascade Laser geometry): Therefore there is a very thin (30nm) layer of gold ...