Quantum description of electronic materials
Fall 2006

Course info:

Prof. Nicola Spaldin, Room 2007 MRL x7920,
Office Hours 
Tuesday 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Ridah Sabouni,
Office Hours  
Th 10 - 11 am, Fr 11 am - noon, 1435 Phelps

Class Time  
Lecture: Monday 2-3.50 pm; Wednesday 2-2.50 pm, Bren 1414

Discussion: Wednesday 3-3.50 pm, Bren 1414

Course outline and reading:

French & Taylor

Failure of Classical Physics

Light as particles; electrons as waves
1, 2.1 - 2.2
Electron diffraction; wave equations
1, 2.1 - 2.2

Schrodinger equation, eigenstates
Square well
4, 9.1 - 9.6
harmonic oscillator

uncertainty relations

5, 8.5 - 8.6
expectation values

5, 8.5 - 8.6

time dependence of quantum states


hydrogen atom, atomic structure
3.4, 4
1, 5.5, 12
exclusion principle, periodic table

free electrons in metals

bonds and bands

periodic potentials

Strongly Recommended: A.P. French and E.F. Taylor, An introduction to quantum physics, Norton&Co.
Also good reading: P.A. Cox, Introduction to quantum theory and atomic structure, Oxford Science Publications, OUP

There will be a homework set assigned every Monday which will be due at the beginning of class the following Monday. You are encouraged to work together on solving the homework problems but the final write up must be your own.
Homework which is one day late can earn a maximum of 75 % of the total score, two days late 50 %, three days late 25 %, and four days late 0.  Homework turned in after the Monday class is considered 1 day late. The purpose of this policy is to protect your TA from a deluge of problems to grade late in the quarter. Your lowest score won't count towards your grade, so you can skip one homework completely if you are sick/travelling/busy, etc.
The grade distribution is 30 % for the homework, 30 % for the midterm (Wednesday November 1st in class) and 40 % for the final (Tuesday, December 12th, 4-7pm). LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY IF YOU HAVE CONFLICTS WITH THE EXAM. TIMES.

You'll be allowed to bring in one single-sided page of notes (8.5 x 11) into the mid-term. For the final you can have notes on both sides.

Homework assignments:
Homework 1. First, read through the Chapter from the Feynman Lectures on Physics that I handed out in class. Then go to the web-site showing the Young's slits experiment for electrons that we looked at in class: then select Wave mechanics - wave/particle duality in quantum mechanics. Wait for a while. Contemplate what is happening. Think about what the output would have looked like if (a) one of the slits had been covered, (b) you had measured which slit the electron went through. Finally, (due in class on Monday October 16th) complete parts (a) through (d) of the 2004 Mid-Term exam. which you can download here.
Homework 1 solutions

Homework 2. Due in class on Monday October 23rd.
Here are the solutions

Homework 3. Due in class on Monday October 30th.
Here are the solutions

Homework 4.
First, complete the remainder of the 2004 Mid-term exam. which you started in Homework 1.
Second answer the following: The ammonia maser was an early forerunner to the laser, which used the energy difference between the two lowest energy states in the NH3 molecule to generate radiation. The operation frequency of an ammonia maser is 24 GHz, in the microwave region of the spectrum. To what energy splitting (in eV) does this correspond? Based on your result, do you expect an NH3 molecule at room temperature to occupy one or other of the eigenfunctions, or to be in a superposition of them? If a maser were made based on a similar action in PH3 (rather than NH3) what do you think would happen to the wavelength of the emitted radiation? Explain your answer. (HINT: think about how the height of the potential barrier would change on changing the identity of the central atom).
Here are the solutions

Homework 5. Part I of last year's final exam. Due in class on Monday November 20th.
Here are the solutions

Homework 6. Due in class on Monday November 27th.
Here are the solutions; note that a "(4f)14" is missing from part 2 of the last problem.

Extra notes:

Web applets that we looked at in week 1:
Blackbody spectrum:
Photoelectric effect:
Young's slits for electrons:

Here are the notes for class on November 22nd. We also worked through Chapter 5 of Cox.