PHYSICS 754 : Condensed Matter Physics


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Covers topics and methods that are important for current condensed matter research. Topics include ferroelectricity, soft condensed matter, experimental materials physics, electronic structure theory, techniques for condensed matter simulation, and renormalisation group theory.

Course Overview

This course will introduce modern quantum and statistical mechanical aspects of condensed matter physics. It is divided into three blocks covering the description of phase transitions and Anderson localisation, electronic structure and band theory for the example of superatoms and superconductivity. Among other things, the students will be introduced to renormalization group theory, theoretical electronic structure methods like density-functional theory and the BCS and Ginzburg-Landau theories of superconductivity. The course uses the techniques of computer simulation extensively.

The skills developed in this course are particularly useful for students who want to work in solid state physics and related areas - be it in an academic or more applied setting, but in general every physics student can benefit from a deeper understanding of modern condensed matter physics since the ideas developped in this field in the last decades have influenced other fields of physics greatly. A good understanding of condensed matter physics is indispensable for anyone considering a career in searching for new materials addressing the pressing sustainability issues of modern society - from photovoltaic applications over semiconductor technology to high-temperature superconductors.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Present a talk on a broad overview of the quantum and statistical mechanical foundation of modern studies in condensed matter. (Capability 4)
  2. Identify and describe ideas and uses behind renormalization group theory and apply it to simple models (Capability 1)
  3. Explain how techniques of computer simulation can play an important role in describing condensed matter problems (Capability 3)
  4. Identify how density-functional concepts are used in condensed matter physics (Capability 2)
  5. Explain the ideas of BCS theory and Landau-Ginsberg theory in the context of superconductivity (Capability 1)
  6. Prepare a literature review on a topic of modern condensed matter physics (Capability 5)
  7. Recall the quantum-mechanical basis of magnetism (Capability 2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Coursework
Essay 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam
This course has 3 assignments

Learning Resources

textbooks as specified on reading list of this course

Special Requirements

Must present a seminar and prepare a literature review on a modern topic of condensed matter theory.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 1.5 hours of lectures, a O.5 hour tutorial, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 5 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation per week.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 09/07/2020 03:09 p.m.