Solid state physics Lecture 1 of 20

September 25, 2012 by Multimedia Publications and Printing Services

Lecturer: S. Scandolo, ICTP

This first lesson is an introduction to solid state physics. The course will be mainly focused in the material science topic as a relevant topic for the short term development of the new technologies and the society in general. The lesson starts by considering different materials at the microscopic level and how atoms are organized in solids. Some examples were considered to illustrate this fact starting from plastics and that the most common molecule that form its structure is Polyethylene a thermoplastic polymer consisting of long hydrocarbon chains. Different arrange of these polymers result in different type of plastics.

The second example was the metals, in particular the Aluminum (Al). In this case atoms are ordered and in for Al it is surrounded by 12 nearest neighbors in a face centered cubic lattice, these ordered systems are called a crystals or crystalline solids: that is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly, repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. In nature solids are not formed but a single crystal but by the collection of several crystals arranged in domains each of them with a random orientation. It was extensively discussed that the inner core of the Earth may be a single crystal of iron.

The third example considered was Glasses, an amorphous (non-crystalline) solid material. In particular the most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica (SiO2). It was emphasized that most of the time of the course we will study crystalline solids because they are ordered periodically while glasses are not.

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