PHYSICS 754 : Condensed Matter Physics


2023 Semester Two (1235) (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 discusses in depths the theory of phase transitions including renormalization group theory and how to perform electronic structure calculations and band theory using the example of superatoms.  Subjects covered include percolation, Anderson localisation, superconductivity, theoretical electronic structure methods like density-functional theory and an introduction in topological materials. 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 or materials 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 developed 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 and topological materials.

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 1, 2 and 4)
  2. Identify and describe ideas and uses behind renormalization group theory and apply it to simple models (Capability 1 and 2)
  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 and 3)
  5. Explain the ideas of BCS theory and Landau-Ginsberg theory in the context of superconductivity or the ideas behind topological materials. (Capability 1)
  6. Prepare a literature review on a topic of modern condensed matter physics (Capability 1, 2 and 5)
  7. Recall the quantum-mechanical basis of magnetism (Capability 1 and 2)
  8. Create a research proposal in the field of superatomic materials (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


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 8
Final Exam


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Special Requirements

Must present a seminar and prepare a literature review on a modern topic of condensed matter theory. Must be present for presentations/discussion of assignments.

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.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled lectures and tutorials, attendance is compulsory for the discussion of the assignments as specified in the course/on Canvas.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning 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.

Textbooks as specified on reading list of this course

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.

Feedback is always welcome and sought also while the course is delivered. E.g., basic concepts in the course are reviewed on a level that is adjusted to prior knowledge of the students.

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.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2022 09:31 a.m.