Physics Material Coursework

The inside of the Daya Bay Antineutrino Detector in China. (Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory on Flickr.)

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The MIT Department of Physics has been a national resource since the turn of the 20th century.

Our Department has been at the center of the revolution in understanding the nature of matter and energy and the dynamics of the cosmos. Our faculty - three of whom hold Nobel Prizes and 21 of whom are members of the National Academy of Sciences - include leaders in nearly every major area of physics. World leaders in science and engineering, including 10 Nobel Prize recipients, have been educated in the physics classrooms and laboratories at MIT. Alumni of the MIT Department of Physics are to be found on the faculties of the world's major universities and colleges, as well as federal research laboratories and every variety of industrial laboratories.

Our undergraduates are sought both by industry and the nation's most competitive graduate schools. Our doctoral graduates are eagerly sought for postdoctoral and faculty positions, as well as by industry.

The MIT Physics Department is one of the largest in the nation, in part because it includes astronomy and astrophysics. Our research programs include theoretical and experimental particle and nuclear physics, cosmology and astrophysics, plasma physics, theoretical and experimental condensed-matter physics, atomic physics, and biophysics. Our students - both undergraduate and graduate - have opportunities to pursue forefront research in almost any area.

All undergraduate students at MIT study mechanics, electricity and magnetism. Beyond that, our physics majors pursue a program that provides outstanding preparation for advanced education in physics and other careers. Our undergraduates have unusual opportunities for becoming involved in research, sometimes working with two different groups during their four years at MIT.

In addition to courses, supplementary physics resources are also available. Various MIT faculty are openly sharing these resources as a service to OCW users.

Physics Courses

i) Crystallography: Elementary introduction. Point and space groups. International Tables for Crystallography. ii) Diffraction: Kinematic theory for electron, neutron and x-ray diffraction. Ordered materials in polycrystalline and monocrystalline form. Determination of crystal structures. Partially ordered materials. Nano- and microstructures. Small angle scattering. Surfaces. iii) Imaging and spectroscopy: Electron microscopy, SEM, TEM. X-ray microscopy. iv) Inhomogeneities: Defects, dislocations; multicomponent materials. Phase diagrams.
The methods will be illustrated by examples like cerams, semiconductors, organic structures, and "modulated" materials, surface reconstructions, adsorbates, amorphous materials, low-dimensional structures. Precipitates. Phase transitions.

Students should be able to:
- See the role of advanced characterization techniques in nano- and materials science.
- Interpret two-component phase diagrams of solid solutions and eutectics.
- Understand crystallography, including point groups, space groups and the use of the International Tables for Crystallography and link group theory to crystallography.
- Use Fourier techniques and the convolution theorem for (partially) crystalline materials.
- Account for the production and properties of electron, X-ray and neutron radiation for use in materials research.
- Carry out kinematical diffraction calculations of spatial and temporal correlations from materials of varying degree of order.
- Perform hands on experiments, including data analysis and report writing, of scattering experiments on materials in the solid (bulk and surface) phase.
- Exploit the differences related to the wide- and small angle regimes of scattering.
- Explain the connection between diffraction and imaging, with special emphasis on transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
- Account for the basic principles of spectroscopy techniques in X-ray and electron beam set-ups.
- Judge the feasibility of using the covered experimental techniques to address structure-related problems in a wide range of organic and inorganic material classes.

Lectures, calculation exercises, and laboratory exercises.
The course will be given in English if students on an international master program in physics are attending the course. When lectures and lecture material are in English, the exam may be given in English only.

The final grade is based on portfolio assessment. The portfolio includes written exam (75%) and works/laboratory exercises (25%). The evaluation of the different parts is given in %-points, while the entire portfolio is given a letter grade. For a re-take of an examination, all assessments in the portfolio must be re-taken.

The re-sit examination (in August) may be changed from written to oral.

TFY4220 Solid State Physics or equivalent.

Will be specified at the beginning of the course.

Course codeReductionFromTo

Examination arrangement: Portfolio assessment
Grade: Letters

Evaluation formWeightingDurationExamination aidsGrade deviation
Written examination75/100C

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