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Optical Properties of Solids

The 12 lectures follow the textbook by Mark Fox “Optical Properties of Solids”, with additional materials by the instructor to make the lectures more self-contained, especially for scientists from other disciplines. They will cover the basic theory for transmission and reflection of light based on Maxwell’s equations and the optical properties of metals and insulators using the Drude and Lorentz oscillator models for electrons and phonons, which form the basis of ellipsometry data analysis. They will then move on to describe infrared lattice absorption, interband absorption in semiconductors, the excitonic enhancement of these transitions due to electron-hole interaction, photoluminescence, and finite-size quantum effects leading to a blueshift of the optical spectra in confined systems. Mathematical formalisms will be kept to a minimum. Instead, the focus is on concepts, graphs and figures, and the interpretation of optical spectra.

Dr. Stefan Zollner is the Academic Department Head and Professor of the Physics department at the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, USA. He is joining us for 6 months as part of the Mobility Project that is supported by ESIF and MEYS.


All lectures will be given in the main lecture hall at Slovance from 09.00-11.00.
Date Lecture title
1. 15.02 Introductions, lecture series overview, spectroscopy, solid-state physics Video Slides
2. 01.03 Crystal structures, Wyckoff positions, point and space groups, classification of optical vibrations Video Slides
3. 08.03 Maxwell’s equations in vacuum, plane waves, polarized light, Stokes parameters, Poincare sphere Video Slides
4. 22.3 Maxwell’s equations in media, polarizability, dielectric function, Lorentz and Drude model Video Slides
5. 12.04 Analytical properties of dielectric function, Kramers-Kronig relations, Sellmeier, poles, Cauchy
6. 26.04 Applications of Lorentz & Drude models to insulators (semiconductors, oxides) & metals, polaritons
7. 10.05 Electronic band structure, direct and indirect band gaps, Fermi’s Golden Rule
8. 24.05 Free electrons, effective masses in semiconductors, direct-gap absorption, excitons
9. 07.06 Interband transitions, van Hove singularities, critical-point lineshapes
10. 21.06 Photoluminescence, Einstein coefficients, quantum confinement, quantum wells, wires, and dots
11. 28.06 Applications I: Anisotropic material
12. 12.07 Applications II: Properties of thin films, stress/strain, deformation potentials

General reading materials