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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Manganese has more unpaired electrons than Iron so why is Iron ferromagnetic Manganese paramagnetic?

Manganese has five unpaired electrons, but Iron has four, then why is Iron ferromagnetic and Manganese paramagnetic? What's that property I'm missing?
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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 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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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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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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Band gaps: are they at the centre or at the edge of the Brillouin zone?

Reading about electronic band structures, I came across the following: Band gaps open at the edges of the Brillouin zone (BZ), since that is where the Bragg scattering occurs. I am slightly ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 non-...
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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 subtracting/...
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Is crystal momentum really momentum?

Almost every solid state physics textbook says crystal momentum is not really physical momentum. For example, phonons always carry crystal momentum but they do not cause a translation of the sample at ...
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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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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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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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108 views

Is the ferromagnetism of iron understood completely?

In Feynman's lecture notes, he said that it is not (at his time). How is the situation today? Can first-principle calculation accounts the ferromagnetism of iron quantitatively now?
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Interpretation Born-Von Karman boundary conditions

The cyclic Born-Von Karman boundary condition says that if we consider a one dimensional lattice with length $L$, and if $\psi(x,t)$ is the wavefunction of an electron in this lattice, then we can say ...
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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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Temperature dependence of the relaxation time in Boltzmann equation for impurity scattering in metals

Is there any temperature dependence of relaxation time in impurity scattering of conducting electrons? It seems to me that there is none. But, some people claim that there is. So if you could explain,...
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Why electrons are relativistic in Graphene and non relativistic in vacuum?

If a free region in space has a potential difference of one volt, an electron in this region will acquire kinetic energy of 1 eV. Its speed will be much smaller than the speed of light hence it will ...
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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 etc.)...
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How holes conduct current?

I had questions about holes in semiconductor, when i checked the net it is said holes are said to be equivalent positive charge and they say because the hole moves from one place to another when it is ...
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What determines the forward voltage drop for a diode?

I have always had the idea that the forward voltage drop in a semiconductor diode was related in a simple way to the bandgap energies in the semiconductor. However this is apparently not the case: ...
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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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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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Dispersion of light in metals and the plasma frequency

I've been reading about the dielectric function and plasma oscillations recently and I encountered the following dispersion relation for EM waves in metals or in plasma (Is it correct to treat those ...
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421 views

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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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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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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1answer
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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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Reciprocal Lattices

Is there an easy way to understand and/or visualize the reciprocal lattice of a two or three dimensional solid-state lattice? What is the significance of the reciprocal lattice, and why do solid ...
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Measuring the effective mass

Intro: To avoid any terminology confusion, this is asked in the context of Solid State Physics and semiconductors. The canonical definition given for the effective mass is that it is related to the ...
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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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Most True to Life Physics & Biology Simulation Engine? [closed]

I'm a programmer. I code in C++, C#, HTML5, and PHP. There are many graphics engines I have at my disposal. The question is: Does there exist a graphics engine that is as true to our reality as ...
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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 that'...
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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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The definition of Density of States

The density of states (DOS) is generally defined as $D(E)=\frac{d\Omega(E)}{dE}$, where $\Omega(E)$ is the number of states. But why DOS can also be defined using delta function, as $$D(E)~=~\sum\...