Sep 30, 2022  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Add to Portfolio (opens a new window)

PH 361 - Physics of Materials

3 lecture hours 2 lab hours 4 credits
Course Description
This course begins with an in-depth discussion of the structure of the atom and the nucleus, as well as other quantum physics concepts. Material properties, such as hardness and ductility, are explained by examining the crystal structure of materials. The band structure of materials is discussed and used to explain the wide range of electrical conductivities and optical absorption properties of conducting, semiconducting, insulating and superconducting materials. The magnetic properties of materials are also examined in some detail. The laboratory portion of the course is designed to give the student hands-on experience in determining various fundamental properties of materials, such as atomic and crystal structure, optical emission and absorption, electrical conductivity, x-ray emission and absorption and nuclear decay. This course cannot be taken for credit by students who have credit for PH 2030 or PH 2031 . This course is designated as a laptop course. (prereq: CH 200  or CH 200A  or CH 200B  or CH 310 , PH 123  or PH 2021. Not for credit for engineering students.)
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Understand the properties of electrons, protons, and neutrons and how they are arranged in atoms
  • State the approximate size of atoms
  • Understand the details of the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom and how the Bohr model leads to quantized electron energies
  • Differentiate between the wave and particle (photon) pictures of electromagnetic radiation
  • Differentiate between the wave and particle pictures of matter
  • Understand the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms
  • State the difference between single crystal, polycrystalline, and amorphous solids
  • Understand how crystal structure, grain size, and defect affect material properties such as hardness and ductility
  • State the differences in the energy band structure between conductors, semiconductors, and insulators and explain how these differences affect the electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and optical absorption properties of solids
  • Understand the basic properties of the PN junction such as rectification and breakdown, as well as have a basic understanding of bipolar and field effect transistor operation
  • State the differences between ferromagnetic, paramagnetic, anti-ferromagnetic, and diamagnetic materials, and understand the origins of these properties from an atomic point of view
  • Understand the different techniques used in materials analysis, such as x-ray diffraction and emission, Auger spectroscopy, low energy electron diffraction, electron microscopy, etc.

Prerequisites by Topic
  • Electric and magnetic fields
  • Newtonian mechanics
  • Atomic chemistry
  • Calculus and algebra skills

Course Topics
  • Atomic structure and the Bohr atom (4 classes)
  • Crystalline nature of solids (6 classes)
  • Electrical properties of solids (6 classes)
  • Optical properties of solids (5 classes)
  • Magnetic properties of solids (6 classes)
  • Review (1 class)

Laboratory Topics
  • Verification of the Bohr model for atomic hydrogen
  • X-ray diffraction of a single crystal
  • X-ray diffraction of polycrystalline materials
  • Determination of the band gap of silicon by optical absorption
  • X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Resistivity and temperature coefficient of resistance for copper
  • Absorption coefficients and optical density of transparent materials
  • Determination of magnetic moment

Dr. Steven Mayer

Add to Portfolio (opens a new window)