Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials

The lattice of cesium bisulfate is shown.

Quantum modelling of the superprotonic phase of cesium bisulfate, CsHSO4. (Image courtesy of Brandon Wood and Nicola Marzari.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2007



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This class discusses the origin of electrical, magnetic and optical properties of materials, with a focus on the acquisition of quantum mechanical tools. It begins with an analysis of the properties of materials, presentation of the postulates of quantum mechanics, and close examination of the hydrogen atom, simple molecules and bonds, and the behavior of electrons in solids and energy bands. Introducing the variation principle as a method for the calculation of wavefunctions, the course continues with investigation of how and why materials respond to different electrical, magnetic and electromagnetic fields and probes and study of the conductivity, dielectric function, and magnetic permeability in metals, semiconductors, and insulators. A survey of common devices such as transistors, magnetic storage media, optical fibers concludes the semester.

Note: The Magnetics unit was taught by co-instructor David Paul; that material is not available at this time.

Related Content

David Paul, and Nicola Marzari. 3.23 Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials. Fall 2007. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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