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PYU44P07 Advanced Topics

Hilary Term – 24 lectures/tutorials – 5 credits (I Shvets, C McGuinness, J Coleman, M Ferreira, HZ Zhang)

Students select two topics from the five topics offered (each 12 lectures):

Topic 1: Energy  
Topic 2: Thin Films
Topic 3: Polymers
Topic 4: Green's Functions in Physics
Topic 5: Diffraction, Imaging, and Spectroscopy of Nanostructures


Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

Topic 1: Energy

  • Identify the different forms of energy production available and their merits and disadvantages
  • Contrast the different forms of renewable energies potentially available on the planet, including the technical limitations to their widespread use
  • Contrast the carbon penalty associated with different forms of energy production
  • Connect the energy efficiency of fossil fuel electricity plant and internal combustion engines to the fundamentals of thermodynamics

Topic 2: Thin Films

  • Predict the crystallography of epitaxial systems
  • Make simple models of adsorption and epitaxial growth on surfaces
  • Distinguish between different practical methods of thin-film growth and connect this knowledge with modern device technology

Topic 3: Polymers

  • Describe the structure and properties of polymer chains and of polymers in liquid and solid environments
  • Use mathematical and physical models to describe the properties of polymers and make predictions about their behaviour
  • Describe the outcome of simple experiments and use physical models to interpret the data

Topic 4: Green's Functions in Physics

  • Solve a variety of different linear differential equations using the technique of Green functions, all applied to physically relevant problems both in the classical and quantum realms
  • Compare the Green function technique with the standard methods for solving linear problems and critically assess what the best procedure is to deal with each type of problem
  • Implement the Green function technique as an efficient way to solve linear problems in classical and quantum physics that are only treatable by numerical methods
  • Explore the versatility of the technique to solve problems that are often too complicated by standard methods
  • Apply the Green function method to address problems of current relevance in several subfields of research


Topic 5: Diffraction, Imaging, and Spectroscopy of Nanostructures

  • Describe kinematical theory of electron diffraction and diffraction patterns
  • Discuss the contrast mechanism of conventional and high resolution transmission electron microscopy
  • Explain the physical principles of electron energy loss spectroscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy for nanoscale analysis.


Topic 1: Energy
Global consumption of energy. Where the energy is expended and how much of it we need to sustain our life style. Sources of energy. Where can we get the energy and how much. Carbon emission. Can the carbon damage be reversed?  Renewable energy sources, challenges and options. The two mainstream energy producing conventional devices: steam turbine and combustion engine. Why they are more important than all other devices. Energy efficiency of these devices considered from the first principles of physics. Can it be increased and by how much? Materials science as the key element in the new energy technologies.

Topic 2: Thin Films
Basic concepts, surface crystallography, surface spectroscopy, adsorption, growth energetics, epitaxy basics, epitaxy models, general thin film growth, specialist thin film growth, nanostructures

Topic 3: Polymers
We study polymer physics starting with an introduction to polymers, moving on to energetics of polymer-polymer and polymer-solvent interactions and the configurations of polymer chains. We study polymers in bulk i.e. in the liquid and solid phases, focusing on the physical properties of polymers, in particular viscoelasticity and mechanical properties. Finally we look at advanced polymers such as Kevlar and spider silk.

Topic 4: Green's Functions in Physics
Part 1: Green's function in Classical Physics
Green's function as a useful tool in Mathematical Physics; Green’s-function method in the solution of the: Harmonic oscillator problem; Wave equation; Laplace and Poisson equations; Diffusion equation;
Part 2: Green's functions in Quantum Physics and their applications to Materials Science
Green’s-function methods for solving the Schrödinger equation; Green's functions and perturbation theory; Scattering theory (single and multiple scattering); Applications: Numerical tools based on the use of Green's functions; Calculating the electronic conductance of a quantum system; Magnetic properties of metals.

Topic 5: Diffraction, Imaging, and Spectroscopy of Nanostructures
Crystallographic calculation, metric tensors, reciprocal space, components of electron microscopes, diffraction in electron microscopy, selected area electron diffraction, image formation, Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Electron energy loss spectroscopy, scanning electron microscope, scanning helium-ion microscope. Secondary electron imaging.