Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Condensed Matter 2
Academic Year
Semester 2
PH32410 and successful completion of Year 2.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 hour lectures
Practical 1 x 1 hour practical sessions in small groups


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination  70%
Semester Assessment Example Sheet  To be completed during teaching semester  15%
Semester Assessment Report on diffraction practical  15%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Classify defect structures in terms of dimensionality.

Suggest appropriate experimental techniques to establish and quantify structural defects and disorder.

Use quantum mechanical and statistical mechanical arguments to describe phenomena such as Bose-Einstein condensation and superfluidity.

Distinguish between type I and II superconductivity, describe the Meissner effect and macroscopic quantum coherence.

Describe superconductivity according to Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory.

Describe quasiparticle excitations and the quantum Hall effect.

Describe the phenomenon of quantum confinement and the unique properties of nanophase materials.

Identify phase transitions in a variety of physical contexts.

Demonstrate familiarity with the concepts of the Landau theory of phase transitions.

Determine appropriate order parameters to describe phase transitions and suggest experimental techniques to track phase transitions.


This module builds on the general condensed matter syllabus covered in earlier modules and exposes students to some advanced topics and current research. Topics include defects and disorder, superfluidity, superconductivity, quantum confinement and phase transitions. The link between physical phenomena and experimental methods to quantify them is emphasised.

Brief description

This module will focus on the quantum mechanics basis for advanced topics in modern condensed matter. Starting from a treatment of elementary excitations, the quantum hall effect and electron phonon interaction will be introduced. From this description the basics of superconductivity will be introduced. The London equations, BCS theory and the Josephson effect will all the discussed. Low temperature topics in condensed matter will be presented including the concepts of superfluidity and Bose-Einstein condensation. The connection between superfluidity and unconventional superconductivity will also be discussed. The final part of the module will be a presentation of recent advances in nanophase physics; this will include discussions of surfaces and interfaces, magnetism on a nanoscale and quantum confinement.

Based on the earlier treatment of diffraction and crystallography, defects and disorder are discussed, along with experimental approaches to their quantification and their impact on the properties of materials. The diffraction workshop will reinforce this part of the module.

The treatment of the para-/ferro-magnetic transition is generalised to cover phase transitions in general. The fundamentals of Landau theory and the order parameter are introduced, and experimental approaches to tracking phase transitions are discussed.



1. Point defects, defect equilibria, diffusion.
2. Dislocations and their motion, material strength.
3. Stacking faults.
4. Amorphous structures, glass transition.
5. Measuring defects and disorder by diffraction.
6. Synchrotron x-ray and neutron scattering techniques.


1. Superconducting materials.
2. The Meissner-Ochsenfeld effect.
3. The London equation.
4. Macroscopic quantum coherence.
5. Cooper pair.
6. The BCS wave function.
7. BCS theory and quasiparticle states.


1. Classical and quantum fluids.
2. Flow Quantization and vorticies.
3. Superfluid properties of He II.


1. Bose-Einstein statistics.
2. Bose-Einstein condensation.
3. BEC in ultra-old gases.


1. Order of phase transitions.
2. Order parameters and symetry.
3. A hint of Landau theory.
4. Tracking transitions experimentally.


This module is at CQFW Level 6