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Module Title Nuclear Physics and Electrons in Solids
SchoolPhysics and Astronomy
Department Physics & Astronomy
Module Code 03 17300
Module Lead Dr C Wheldon (Nuclear), Dr Z Li (Electrons in Solids)
Level Intermediate Level
Credits 10
Semester Full Term
Pre-requisites Electromagnetism and Temperature and Matter - (03 19750)
Restrictions BSc/MSci Physics, Theoretical Physics, Theoretical Physics & Applied Mathematics, Physics with Biomedical Physics, Physics with Business Management. Also available to BNat Sci students as an option.
Contact Hours Lecture-24 hours
Guided independent study-76 hours
Total: 100 hours
Description Nuclear Physics (semester 1): Neutrons and protons form the building blocks of the atomic nucleus but only certain combinations are stable. Why is this so? Given that the early Universe was and still is predominantly hydrogen how were the other elements formed? What powers the sun and other stars? Why do radioactive nuclei decay in a particular way? How do we detect the products of nuclear decay? Can we use radioactive materials in healthcare and industry? What properties should these radioactive species have to be useful? How can we make precise measurements on something which is only a few femtometers in diameter? The course aims to provide an introduction to Nuclear Physics and in doing so address the above questions. We will look at nuclear binding and consider its impact on nuclear decay. We will also examine selection rules which determine decay rates and mechanisms. There will be a blend of basic nuclear physics, measurement techniques and applications. We will also examine selection rules which determine decay rates and mechanisms. Hydrogen burning in the sun will be studied along with the nuclearsynthesis of the elements in stars and supernovae. There will be a blend of basic nuclear physics, measurement techniques and applications.
Electrons in Solids (semester 2): The properties of solid state materials are, by and large, determined by the behaviour of electrons inside them. This module will introduce the fundamental characteristics of electrons in metals and semiconductors. Following a brief introduction of bonding and crystal structure, the free electron theory will be introduced to describe the electrical and thermal properties of metals. This leads naturally to the concepts of semiconductors, eg why the conductivity of a semiconductor increases with temperature whilst it is the opposite with metals. The magnetic properties of solids will also be described based on the fundamental behaviour of electrons.
Learning Outcomes By the end of the module the student should:
Nuclear Physics: 1. understand the concept of binding energy, mass and energy; 2. be familiar with the chart of the nuclides; 3. have an understanding of the radioactive decay laws and selection rules; 4. know how radiation interacts with matter and how detectors work; 5. be aware of the production and use of radonuclides for medicine and industry; 6. appreciate the energy production in stars and nucleosynthesis.
Electrons in Solids: 1. understand the basic properties of crystalline solids, and be able to explain how the behaviour of electrons determines the properties of the solids; 2. To grasp the concepts of free electron theory and the nearly free electron theory; 3. To understand the distribution of electrons as a function of electron energy, and the Fermi-Dirac distribution function.
Assessment 17300-01 : Exam : Exam (School Arranged) - Written Unseen (80%)
17300-02 : Nuclear Physics Cont Assess : Coursework (10%)
17300-03 : Electrons in Solids Cont Assess : Coursework (10%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions 1 x 1.5 hour exam (80%) and continuous assessment (weekly problem sheets) (20%)
Other None
Reading List