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Subject: QUANTUM PHYSICS OF MATTER (A.A. 2020/2021)

master degree course in PHYSICS – FISICA

Course year 1
Teaching units Unit Quantum Physics of Matter
Microphysics and Material Structure (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: FIS/03 CFU: 6
Teachers: Rita MAGRI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language English
Contents download pdf download




Knowledge and understanding
The course focuses on the theoretical methods for the description of the optical properties of condensed matter phases. The student will be able to interpret experimental results of optical and electron energy loss measurements and their use for condensed matter characterization

Applying knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course the students are expected to be able to analyze and interpret optical and particle energy loss experiments on the basis of the fundamental properties of the measured materials.

Making judgments
Students are expected to acquire the ability to evaluate critically the outcomes of basic experiments of condensed matter physics.

Communication skills
Students should acquire the capability of discussing problems related to the experimental data using the appropriate terminology.

Learning skills
Students will be able to learn easily the developments resulting from experiments of condensed matter physics.

Admission requirements

Students are expected to be familiar with basic atomic and solid state physics. They must have attended a basic course in quantum mechanics, that includes time dependent perturbation theory.

Course contents

Response functions for linear isotropic media, propagation equation. Electromagnetic field modes in a medium. Transverse and longitudinal electromagnetic field modes. Optical coefficients. Optical spectra of materials. Energy conservation in dispersive media. Longitudinal and transverse dielectric functions. Energy loss spectra. Drude Lorentz model. Kramers-Kronig relations. Surface modes of the electromagnetic field. Dispersion and dissipation in linear media. Kubo-Greenwood formula. Theory of absorption between band states. Joint density of states. Direct and indirect transitions. Excitonic states. Electromagnetic field quantization. Hamiltonian of the electromagnetic field interacting with many electron systems. General theory of absorption and emission.

The student's degree of learning will be evaluated by means of a written test consisting in the solving of exercises and a oral exam.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures and exercise classes. The working students who cannot participate in the class must notify the professor of the situation so as to receive the necessary information and copy of the lecture notes. Office hours: Monday from 3 to 5 p.m. or on appointment obtained vie e-mail. The lectures will be made available on-line and will be conducted in streaming or pre-registered cause the COVID19 emergency.

Assessment methods

Oral exam comprising a set of questions on the topics of the course and a power point presentation on a topic of choice of the student. The test aims at verifying the ability of the student to apply the learnt concepts, the degree of understanding and the ability to express correctly the concepts. The exams may take place on-line depending on the evolution of the COVID19 emergency.

Learning outcomes

The student at the end of the course is expected to:
- be able to apply the methods tought in the course to solve simple problems of condensed matter physics;
- have correctly understood the link between theoretical and experimental methodologies used to optically characterize the materials.
- to correctly interpret the results of the experimetal measurements in terms of the material properties.
- to understand critically the limits of the theoretical models presented in the course.


F. Wooten, "Optical Properties of Solids", Academic Press
F. Bassani e U. Grassano: "Fisica dello Stato Solido", Boringhieri.