The Oxford Solid State Basics

ISBN : 9780199680771

Steven H. Simon
304 ページ
190 x 246 mm
  • Appropriate for an undergraduate audience
  • Covers very precisely the required syllabus for Oxford and most of the UK
  • Clear explanations
  • Many good exercises
  • Solutions manual available on request

The study of solids is one of the richest, most exciting, and most successful branches of physics. While the subject of solid state physics is often viewed as dry and tedious this new book presents the topic instead as an exciting exposition of fundamental principles and great intellectual breakthroughs. Beginning with a discussion of how the study of heat capacity of solids ushered in the quantum revolution, the author presents the key ideas of the field while emphasizing the deep underlying concepts. 
The book begins with a discussion of the Einstein/Debye model of specific heat, and the Drude/Sommerfeld theories of electrons in solids, which can all be understood without reference to any underlying crystal structure. The failures of these theories force a more serious investigation of microscopics. Many of the key ideas about waves in solids are then introduced using one dimensional models in order to convey concepts without getting bogged down with details. Only then does the book turn to consider real materials. 
Chemical bonding is introduced and then atoms can be bonded together to crystal structures and reciprocal space results. Diffraction experiments, as the central application of these ideas, are discussed in great detail. From there, the connection is made to electron wave diffraction in solids and how it results in electronic band structure. The natural culmination of this thread is the triumph of semiconductor physics and devices. 
The final section of the book considers magnetism in order to discuss a range of deeper concepts. The failures of band theory due to electron interaction, spontaneous magnetic orders, and mean field theories are presented well. Finally, the book gives a brief exposition of the Hubbard model that undergraduates can understand. 

The book presents all of this material in a clear fashion, dense with explanatory or just plain entertaining footnotes. This may be the best introductory book for learning solid state physics. It is certainly the most fun to read.


1: About Condensed Matter Physics
Part I: Solids Without Considering Microscopic Structure: The Early Days of Solid State
2: Specific Heat of Solids: Boltzmann, Einstein, and Debye
3: Electrons in Metals: Drude Theory
4: More Electrons in Metals: Sommerfeld (Free Electron) Theory
Part II: Structure of Materials
5: The Periodic Table
6: What Holds Solids Together: Chemical Bonding
7: Types of Matter
Part III: Toy Models of Solids in One Dimension
8: One Dimensional Model of Compressibility, Sound, and Thermal Expansion
9: Vibrations of a One Dimensional Monatomic Chain
10: Vibrations of a One Dimensional Diatomic Chain
11: Tight Binding Chain (Interlude and Preview)
Part IV: Geometry of Solids
12: Crystal Structure
13: Reciprocal Lattice, Brillouin Zone, Waves in Crystals
Part V: Neutron and X-Ray Diffraction
14: Wave Scattering by Crystals
Part VI: Electrons in Solids
15: Electrons in a Periodic Potential
16: Insulator, Semiconductor, or Metal
17: Semiconductor Physics
18: Semiconductor Devices
Part VII: Magnetism and Mean Field Theories
19: Atomic Magnetism: Para- and Dia-Magnetism
20: Magnetic Order
21: Domains and Hysteresis
22: Mean Field Theory
23: Magnetism from Interactions: The Hubbard Model
Appendix A: Sample Exam and Solutions
Appendix B: List of Other Good Books


Steven H. Simon, Professor of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, and Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.
Professor Steven Simon earned a BSc degree from Brown in Physics & Mathematics in 1989 and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Harvard in 1995. Following a two-year post-doc at MIT, he joined Bell Labs, where he was a director of research for nine years. He is currently Professor of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford. His research is in the area of condensed matter physics and communication, including subjects ranging from microwave propagation to high temperature superconductivity. He is interested in quantum effects and how they are manifested in phases of matter. He has recently been studying phases of matter known as "topological phases" that are invariant under smooth deformations of space-time. He is also interested in whether such phases of matter can be used for quantum information processing and quantum computation.

The style of the book is very accessible for undergraduates. The topics are well motivated and the explanations are clear, helped by a generous set of figures for illustration. This textbook may well establish itself as an alternative to the available classics. - Derek Lee, Imperial College London
The author, Steven Simon, is well known as an insightful scientist and an engaging and witty speaker, and it is a pleasure to see how well his talents translate to the printed page. He has re-examined with a modern eye the question of which topics should be covered in a student's first exposure to the physics of solids. My impression is that his presentation of those topics will be accessible for the student, illuminating for the expert, and entertaining for all. - Joel E. Moore, University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
This textbook provides a clear and compact coverage of essential topics in introductory solid state physics. It also goes beyond the usual introductory level by providing more detailed mathematical treatment, but more importantly by providing a commentary to explain the physical significance of mathematical treatments. - Gavin Mountjoy, University of Kent