cod. 1008538

Academic year 2024/25
1° year of course - Annual
Academic discipline
Fisica della materia (FIS/03)
Chimica e fisica della materia
Type of training activity
72 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of this course the student should know advanced topic in Condensed and Soft Matter Physics.

Applying knowledge and understanding:
The student should be able to analyze Condensed Matter Physics phenomena and to interpret them on the basis of the mathematical formulation of the physical laws. Beyond the methodologic tools, the course provides the students with an advanced language for Condensed Matter Physics, allowing them to read and understand advanced texts and scientific literature.

Making judgments:
By the end of the course, students should have improved their abilities to analyze Condensed Matter Physics phenomena with critical attitude, being able to apply the correct methodology to understand them.

Communication skills:
The student should be able to expose topics of Condensed Matter Physics effectively. In particular, they must be able to introduce these topics in a clear and accessible way, in order to dialogue with specialists and to translate complex concepts in a language understandable to non-specialists.

Learning skills:
The student should have acquired the learning skills related to advanced Condensed Matter Physics topics, which are necessary to study autonomously advanced texts and scientific literature.


Quantum Mechanics; fundaments of Condensed Matter Physics: Atomic and Molecular structure, Crystal structures, Electronic states in solids; Basic concepts of quantum chemical calculations, basic chemistry, and statistical mechanics.

Course unit content

PART 1 – CONDENSED MATTER (1st semester)
-Second Quantization
-Phase transitions
.Magnetism and Mean Field Theories
-Atoms in external fields

PART 2 – SOFT MATTER (2nd semester)
Structure, properties and applications of soft matter states.
These are the aggregate states of matter that cannot be classified in the conventional solid-liquid-gas scheme, which are extremely common in everyday life and in biological structures: suspensions, emulsions, foams, gels ...

Full programme

PART 1 – CONDENSED MATTER (1st semester)

Second Quantization
- The many-body problem and the occupation number representation
- Fock Space for bosons and fermions
- Second Quantized Form of Operators
Phase transitions
- Phenomenology, critical behaviour and universality
- The Ising model
- Beyond the Landau approach (an outline)
Magnetism and Mean Field Theories
- Magnetic Properties of Atoms: Para- and Dia-Magnetism
- Exchange interactions: Ferro-, Ferri- and Antiferro-magnetism
- The Hubbard Model
- Mean Field Theory and excitations in the ordered states
- Basic phenomena and phenomenological theories
-Microscopic properties of the super-conducting states (an outline)
Atoms in external fields
- Magnetic Resonance and Magnetic Dipole Transitions
- NMR and EPR
- Nuclear moments and hyperfine interactions

PART 2 – SOFT MATTER (2nd semester)

History of soft matter physics.
Summaries of chemistry, matter physics and statistical mechanics.
Complex systems and structures out of equilibrium.
Basic structures and their properties:
-glassy textures
- granular material
Composite structures
The geometry of soft matter: fractals and percolation
Physical properties of soft matter
Experimental techniques for the study of soft matter
Theoretical models for soft matter physics
Applications and engineering: biomaterials, food, cosmetics, drugs, textiles, biodegradable materials, bioplastics, ...


- C. Kittel, “Introduction to Solid State Physics, 8th Edition”, Wiley.
- Neil Ashcroft, N. Mermin, “Solid State Physics”, Cengage Learning, Inc.
- M.P. Marder, “Condensed Matter Physics”, Wiley.
- H.E. Stanley, “Introduction to Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena”, Oxford University Press
- S. Blundell, “Magnetism in Condensed Matter”, Oxford University Press
- W. Nolting, A. Ramakanth, “Quantum Theory of Magnetism”, Springer.
- M. Tinkham, “Introduction to Superconductivity”, Dover Publications Inc.
- C.P. Slichter, “Principles of Magnetic Resonance”, Springer Verlag
- R.A.L. Jones, Soft Condensed Matter , Oxford University Press, Oxford (2002).

-Educational material, articles, presentations given by the teacher

Teaching methods

Slides will be used to convey the most important messages of the theory lectures and will be available on the Elly platform.
Teaching activities will be in person.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination, focusing on the knowledge and understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures.
Being an annual course, it is possible to take half-term examinations focusing on the topics of the two parts of the course, separately. The final vote is then produced basing on the arithmetic average of the votes obtained in the oral examinations of each module of the course.

Other information

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