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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Is it more efficient to stack two Peltier modules or to set them side by side?

Is it more efficient to stack two Peltier modules or to set them side by side? And why? I have a small box that I want to cool down about 20 K below ambient -- cold, but not below freezing. (I want ...
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Why are most ferromagnets metals while antiferromagnets are insulators?

This seems to be experimentally true, but I don't quite have an intuition as to why. In the Ising model, we usually consider an insulating ferromagnet if $J>0$, where $J$ is the exchange coupling. ...
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6k views

Difference between steady state and equilibrium?

In semiconductor physics, what is the difference between steady state and equilibrium. How analysis of devices varies in these processes?
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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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If you suddenly move a piece of metal, will that disturb the free electron density?

If we have a hollow pipe sitting at rest filled with gas and we moved the pipe suddenly along its length to the right, then the gas density will be momentarily higher near the rear of the pipe and ...
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Proof that all primitive cells have the same size

A primitive cell of a crystal lattice is a set $A$ such that two copies of $A$ which are translated by a lattice vector do not overlap and such that $A$ tiles the entire crystal. I have read (for ...
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222 views

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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137 views

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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518 views

Does a quantum phase transition have latent heat?

As the title says, I am thinking about the question that whether a quantum phase transition has latent heat. If so, at 0 temperature, we can drive the system by some parameter from disorder phase to ...
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183 views

maximum positive electric charge of solid body

What are the limiting factors on the positive charge of a solid body? If I assume a 'perfect insulator' environment that would not exchange charge with my solid body, I would guess that I can remove ...
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1k views

The Difference between Thomas-Fermi Screening and Lindhard Screening

Assuming the general theory of screening related to electron-electron interactions, I was wondering if anyone could provide a clear, yet conceptually complete explanation of the differences between ...
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83 views

Is the superconducting current made up of Cooper pairs?

Inside the superconductor it should be $\mu_0\mathbf{j} = \mathbf{\nabla} \times \mathbf{B} = 0$, since B is 0 due to the Messner effect. This means that the current is carried by the surface. But ...
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217 views

Chronological and normal ordering

I've realized I'm little bit confused when I want to treat elements like this $$\left<\phi_0|T\{a_p(t)a_p^+(t')V(t_1)V(t_2)\}|\phi_0\right>$$ with $$V(t)=\dfrac12 \dfrac{1}{(2\pi ...
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590 views

Topological insulators - Surface states have a phase?

When I look at the circle of the Dirac cone around the Dirac point of, let's say, $Bi_2Se_3$, then the electron winds around and it is true that it goes from momentum $-k$ and spin-up to $+k$ and ...
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482 views

How is a Majorana fermion created when a s-wave superconductors is in proximity to a topological insulator (e.g. via an antidot)

Kane and Fu proposed a few geometries how to create Majorana zero modes using a s-wave superconductor in proximity to a 3D topological insulator (TI). -> ...
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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 ...
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In what way do Cooper pairs of electrons bond and stay bonded in superconductors?

I understand how electrons initially move into another's vicinity, but nowhere can I find a fathomable answer to this. Also, does the pairs forming 'a condensate' mean a Bose-Einstein condensate?
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Can surface dipoles/charges change the work function of a metal?

As typically drawn in simplified band diagrams (see picture below), the metal Fermi Level is shown as the top of the conduction band, with the entire band filled. In many situations, including ...
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558 views

How does thermal broadening of the Fermi Function cause electron coherence loss?

Generally, there are two ways for electrons to lose their wave-like properties in a solid material. One is by way of collisions that cause changes in the energy and momentum of the electron. The other ...
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After being heated and cooled why does Coconut Oil form these structures?

According the the guy who posted this picture, the coconut oil melted during a heatwave and then re-solidified into hexagonal structures. I looked into foam physics and it seems that area deals ...
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307 views

If atoms have specific energy levels, why do opaque solids absorb all visible light, not just some? [duplicate]

Here's my question: if atoms have well defined energy levels and those differences correspond to the frequencies of light that can be absorbed, how is it that opaque objects absorb all or most visible ...
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294 views

Crystal Momentum in a Periodic Potential

I'm working through some basic theory on periodic potentials, and I would appreciate help in understanding the crystal momentum. Suppose we have a Bravais lattice with lattice vectors $\textbf{R}$. ...
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309 views

Why does the Fermi Surface cross the Brillouin zone boundary at right angles?

I'm not sure why the fermi surface crosses the Brillouin zone boundary at right angles. I understand that this is normally the case, but not necessarily always. I'm aware that the fermi surface is a ...
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871 views

What is an electron/hole pocket and what is the significance?

What is an electron/hole pocket and what is the significance? I'm trying to get my head around this. I've read what Ashcroft and Mermin have to say on the subject, but it's a little convoluted. They ...
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215 views

How do I calculate integral analytically for small $k$?

In a Heisenberg antiferromagnet, the dispersion relation is \begin{equation} \omega_{\mathbf{k}} =JSz\sqrt{ 1-\gamma_{\mathbf{k}}^2} \end{equation} where ...
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Relation between density and refractive index of medium

Is there any relation between Refractive index and density of a material? It is not found to be proportional in my experimental results. Is there any equation to relate these parameters?
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320 views

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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118 views

Electron degeneracy pressure

Why is it that in stars undergoing gravitational collapse electron degeneracy kicks in? Why couldn't the electrons form energy bands like in semiconductors?
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Why can we quantize macro(meso)scopic harmonic oscillator?

It is well known that we have got many kinds of quantized macro(meso)scopic harmonic oscillators or so in tiny mechanical systems. People are talking about cavity cooling and so on. However, it is ...
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275 views

Anisotropic refractive index with isotropic components?

In relation to my question here I wanted to make sure that my physical argument was not flawed. Anisotropic properties, (especially refractive index) is characteristic of a well-ordered solid ...
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891 views

Need help understanding Semiconductor physics

I am trying to read Kittel for a project, and he mentions the properties on silicon and germanium so briefly, that I don't understand it at all. He talks about p states, and I don't really know what ...
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103 views

Is diffraction through an aperture similar to diffraction by a plane of atoms?

I'm asking because I have a problem asking me what the diffraction pattern would be if instead of spherical atoms I'd have triangular atoms. I can't find anything about this in my X-ray diffraction ...
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359 views

What is crystal field anisotropy or effect ? It forces the magnetic moment to point in particular local direction..

Can you give a basic explanation of what is crystal field anisotropy ? What is the reason to arise ? In spin ice it forces the dipoles to point in the local 111 direction. For partially filled rare ...
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What is the mass of the emergent magnetic monopoles in spin ice and how is the mass of an emergent particle determined?

In solid state physics emergent particles are very common. How one determines if they are gap-less excitations? Do the defects in spin ice called magnetic monopoles have mass? What is the mass of ...
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What is injection level (semiconductor physics)?

I am currently reading journal articles about semiconductor physics in solar cells. What is injection level? I'll try to start off with what I understand. Photons hitting the silicon cause its ...
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How can one reasonably theoretically model polycrystalline materials?

Many techniques are taught in advanced solid state courses but they are almost all derived for perfectly crystalline materials. For example, band structure really only appears theoretically when you ...
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227 views

In a positively biased PN junction, where do the injection carriers come from?

I am not quite understand i-v character of PN-junction diode. Here is the model in textbook. The PN junction diode can be divided into three regions. They are One depletion region near the PN ...
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694 views

Paramagnetism Spin-1/2 Particles - Partition Function

I'm trying to come up with an expression for the partition function of a system of spin-1/2 ideal gas particles on a line of length $L$. The total number of particles $N$ is fixed, with $N = ...
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183 views

Do indirect optical transitions “cool” the material a little?

So I'm reading in Ashcroft and Mermin about indirect optical transitions: So, a photon comes in, and it only excites the electron across the indirect band gap if a phonon with the appropriate wave ...
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87 views

Where to learn Temperature Dependent Conductivity induced by Electron-Phonon Interaction? [closed]

I want to learn how to calculate the temperature dependent conductivity induced by electron-phonon interaction. I know in low temperature, the resistance in metal $\rho$ is proportional to $T^5$, $T$ ...
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Sign of the hopping integral in tight binding model

The Hamiltonian of tight binding model reads $H=-|t|\sum\limits_{<i,j>}c_i^{\dagger}c_j+h.c.$, why is there a negative sign in the hopping term?
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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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Why is a critical system equal to a gapless system?

In condensed matter physics, people often say that a system without energy gap is a critical system. What does it mean? Any help is appreciated!
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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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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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How can a material conduct heat but not electricity

Mica is a good conductor of heat but an electrical insulator. According to free electron theory (which applies only to metals) free electrons carry heat and electricity. Therefore, thermal ...
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Are all metals good conductor of electricity?

I am writing an article for kids, which is on conductors and insulators of electricity. If I make a statement that "All metals are electrical conductors and all non-metals are electrical insulators" ...
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Fermi level alignment and electrochemical potential between two metals

I'm trying to get a more intuitive/physical grasp of the Fermi level, like I have of electric potential. I know that, for just a single piece of metal in equilibrium, you have to have the electric ...
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Why does the density of states in a solid scale as $\sqrt{E}$?

In three dimensions, the density of states of a free electron is the square root of the energy of the electron. Can somebody explain the relationship between this dependence and the shape/formation of ...
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Topological insulators literature

I started learning things on topological insulators and I got lost in dozens of existing papers on this topic. Could anyone recommend me appropriate literature that explains deeply enough what ...