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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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Is an object's color/shine/texture dependent on its electrons only? If electrons are same then why are there so many different colors?

when we look at an object be it a metal or a non-metal are we looking at its electrons only, so then if all electrons are same then why do different chemicals or elements or objects have different ...
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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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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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Wannier Functions as Discrete Basis

In solid state physics, using Bloch's theorem we know that the one-electron energy eigen-function can be written as $\psi_{\lambda,\vec{k}}(\vec{r})$ where $\lambda$ indexes eigenvalues of $\hat{H}$ ...
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Getting nonphysical results when solving for the index of refraction of a slab?

I'm trying to computationally find the refractive indices (real and imaginary) for a thin slab suspended in air (so the only indices to deal with are air and my material's). I've experimentally taken ...
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Why are free electrons free?

This is what I understand so far: in a conductor, the ions have a weak pull on the valence electrons. So when an electric field is applied, the free electrons are able to easily move about. Makes ...
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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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Continuous vs. Discrete Spectra in various materials

I read that the reason solids emit continuous spectra is that they don't have time to let their electrons decay-they are too close together. Given that electrons decay on the order of 100 nanoseconds ...
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Why don't FCC metals have a brittle-to-ductile temperature transition?

I initially thought that it had something to do with the number of slip systems in FCC vs. BCC, but they're both the same.
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Difference between energy gaps of metal and semiconductor

I have a little question I hope someone could answer. I'm reading some Solid State Physics and I have come across energy bands and energy gaps. As far as I understand the energy band is where the ...