In the third year, the smaller number of core courses means you’ll have even more opportunity to take specialised options. The final major element is a research project, applying your theoretical, computational and experimental techniques. MSci students will receive additional support to help prepare for independent learning in the final year.
You will carry out a project drawn from one of several areas of physics. The project may be experimental or theoretical in nature. Many of the projects reflect the research interests of members of academic staff. You’ll work in pairs and will be expected to produce a plan of work and to identify realistic goals for your project. Each pair has a project supervisor responsible for setting the project.
Introduction to Solid State Physics
This module will provide a general introduction to solid state physics. Topics covered include:
- Bonding nature of chemical bonds, thermodynamics of solid formation
- Crystal structures description of crystal structures, k-space, reciprocal lattice, Bragg diffraction, Brillouin zones
- Nearly-free electron model - Bloch's theorem, band gaps from electron Bragg scattering, effective masses
- Band theory Fermi surfaces, qualitative picture of transport, metals, insulators and semiconductors
- Semiconductors - doping, inhomogeneous semiconductors, basic description of pn junction
- Phonons normal modes of ionic lattice, quantization, Debye theory of heat capacities, acoustic and optical phonons
- Optical properties of solids absorption and reflection of light by metals, Brewster angle, dielectric constants, plasma oscillations
- Magnetism- Landau diamagnetism, paramagnetism, exchange interactions, Ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, neutron scattering, dipolar interactions and domain formation, magnetic technology
Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles
This module will introduce students to the physics of atoms, nuclei and the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. The module will also develop the quantum mechanical description of these.
Topics to be covered are:
- Approximation techniques first order perturbation theory, degeneracies, second order perturbation theory, transition rates, time-dependent perturbation theory, Fermi's golden rule
- Particle Physics protons and neutrons, antiparticles, particle accelerators and scattering experiments, conservation laws, neutrinos, leptons, baryons and hadrons, the quark model and the strong interaction, weak interactions, standard model
- Introduction to atomic physics review of simple model of hydrogen atom, Fermi statistics and Pauli principle, aufbau principle, hydrogenic atoms, exchange, fine structure and hyperfine interactions, dipole interaction, selection rules and transition rates
- Lasers optical polarization and photons, optical cavities, population inversions, Bose statistics and stimulated emission, Einstein A and B coefficients
- Nuclear Physics Radioactivity, decay processes, alpha, beta and gamma emission, detectors, stability curves and binding energies, nuclear fission, fusion, liquid drop and shell models.
You’ll extend and develop your knowledge of quantum theory with a particular emphasis on how quantum systems evolve over time. The module will focus on developing the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics as well as introducing important physical models and calculational techniques.
Atmospheric and Planetary Physics
In this module you’ll explore the theoretical aspect of atmospheric physics. Topics will include planetary atmosphere, troposphere, solar radiation and the Energy budget, radiation transfer and Photochemistry among others. You’ll have two hours of lectures per week studying this module.
Introduction to Cosmology
Cosmology is the scientific study of the universe as a whole. The module provides an introduction to modern cosmology, including some of the more recent observational and theoretical developments. No prior knowledge of General Relativity is required. Topics covered include: observed features of the universe, the Cosmological Principle, Newtoniaan and Relativistic cosmology, the Friedmann Models, cosmic expansion, the cosmological constant, evidence for the big bang model, the thermal history of the big bang, the early universe and inflation, the classical cosmological tests, structure formation (brief treatment only).
To develop an understanding of high-energy phenomena in astrophysics and the relative importance of different processes in different situations.
To make models of extreme astrophysical sources and environments basedon physical theory.
To interpret observational data in the light of relevant physical theory.
Functional Medical Imaging
The techniques for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) are explored. The course aims to introduce the brain imaging technique of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), giving an overview of the physics involved in this technique. The electromagnetic techniques of electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) will then be outlined, and the relative advantages of the techniques described.
Applied Nonlinear Dynamics
The course will cover nonlinear oscillations, including the linear stability of limit cycles (Floquet theory), the Mathieu equation, and relaxation oscillators (using geometric singular perturbation theory). Synchronisation by periodic forcing will be discussed using the notion of isochrons and phase-response curves, as well as Poincaré sections, circle-maps, mode-locking, and Arnol’d tongues. The treatment of Chaos will cover tests for chaos (Liapunov exponents and spectral analysis), strange and chaotic attractors, fractal boundaries, and routes to chaos in nonlinear dynamical systems.
The course will conclude with a treatment of Spatially extended systems, covering pattern formation (in both PDE and integral equation models), and weakly nonlinear analysis (amplitude equations and pattern selection).
Quantum Coherent Phenomena
This module will introduce a number of systems in which quantum coherent phenomena are observed, discuss their common features and the general underlying theoretical ideas for their description as well as some of their applications.
- Bose condensation review of Bose statistics, BEC, BEC in cold atomic gases.
- Superfluidity in Helium-4 quantum fluids, macroscopic wave functions, superfluidity, non-classical rotational inertia and vortices, phonon and roton excitations.
- Superconductivity conduction in metals, superconducting materials, zero-resistivity, Meissner effect, perfect diamagnetism, type I and type II behaviour, London theory.
- BCS theory of superconductivity.- electron-phonon interaction, Cooper pairs, BCS wave function, order parameter and microscopic origin of GL.
- Applications: squids, superconducting magnets etc.
This module aims to provide you with the skills necessary to use computational methods in the solution of non-trivial problems in physics and astronomy. You’ll also sharpen your programming skills through a three hour computing class and one hour of lectures per week.
This module introduces you to the physical properties of semiconductors and low-dimensional systems, such as quantum wells, wires and dots. The aim is to explain the physics that underlies optical and transport properties of these structures and and their applications in advanced technologies.
This course is structured in two main parts. The first part focuses on the foundation of quantum mechanics and solid state physics needed to describe a low dimensional system. The module then moves on describing the physical principles of semiconductor junction and devices.
Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics
To introduce the key theoretical ideas of elementary particle physics, such as symmetry and conservation laws, and to build the foundations for a mathematical description of particle properties and interactions.