PHYS 620: Optical Properties of Solids



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Winter 2013

Course Outline:

  1. INTRODUCTION, ELECTRODYNAMICS OF CONTINUOUS MEDIA (Maxwell’s equations. Permittivity and permeability. Scattering).
  2. KRAMERS-KRÖNIG RELATIONS, PHENOMENOLOGICAL MODELS (Drude and Lorentz models. Quantum mechanical description).
  3. SEMICONDUCTORS: INTERBAND TRANSITIONS (van Hove singularities, diamond/zincblend valence band, spin-orbit coupling, indirect gaps, Urbach tails, Landau levels, Franz-Keldysh effect).
  4. LATTICE ABSORPTION AND PHONON POLARITONS (lattice-radiation coupling, TO-LO splitting, polaritons, Lyddanne-Sachs-Teller relation; two-phonon absorption, non-analytical van Hove singularities; IR modes in metals and doped semiconductors: LO-plasmon coupled modes; anharmonicity, molecular crystals: internal modes; coupled oscillators and Szigeti-Fano interferences).
  5. EXCITONS (Frenkel vs. Wannier excitons. Optical selection rules. Effect of Coulomb interaction on interband absorption. Wannier polaritons. Non-local permittivity. Additional boundary conditions. Frenkel polaritons, lattice sums. Franck-Condon approximation. Huang-Rhys model. Wannier exciton – LO phonon bound states).
  6. METALS AND DOPED SEMICONDUCTORS: FREE CARRIER ABSORPTION AND PLASMONS (random phase approximation. Free carrier absorption, plasmons, screening. Lindhard dielectric response. Anomalous skin effect. Surface and slab plasmons. Plasmons in metallic particles).
  7. IMPURITY CENTERS (semiconductors: electronic spectrum of shallow donors, multiple valleys, valley-orbit coupling and acceptors, pseudospin-orbit coupling; impurity bands and metal-insulator transition; localized vibrational modes; LO modes bound to neutral impurities; lattice dynamics of isoelectronic impurities and mixed crystals: one vs. two-mode behavior; transition-metal ions: crystal field theory and Jahn-Teller effect.
  8. MAGNETIC EXCITATIONS (magnons; ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic resonance).


Roberto Merlin

Roberto Merlin received the Licenciado en Ciencias Fisicas (M.Sc.) degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1973 and the Dr. rer. nat. (Ph.D.) degree from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, in 1978. After a postdoctoral position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan where he is currently the Peter A. Franken Professor of Physics. Since 2000, he has held a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Merlin’s research specialty is experimental condensed matter physics. His areas of expertise include various optical techniques and, in particular, spontaneous and impulsive (stimulated) Raman spectroscopy. His current interests focus on the generation and control of coherent vibrational and electronic fields using ultrafast laser and x-ray pulses, metamaterials and negative refraction. Merlin and collaborators pioneered experimental work on Fibonacci superlattices, the quantum-confined Pockels effect, squeezed phonons and near-field plates. Other significant contributions include the earliest light-scattering studies of interface phonons, folded acoustic modes and shallow impurities in GaAs/AlAs heterostructures, and the development of the technique of magneto-Raman scattering.

Merlin is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, the von Humboldt Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Simons Foundation. Other honors include the 2006 Frank Isakson Prize of the American Physical Society and Lannin Lecturer at the Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University. His service record includes Chair of the APS Forum on International Physics and General Chair of the Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Springer Series in Solid State Sciences, and the journal Solid State Communications, and Divisional Associate Editor of Physical Review Letters.



Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Roberto Merlin (2013), "PHYS 620: Optical Properties of Solids,"

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University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


Lecture Number/Topic Online Lecture Video Lecture Notes Supplemental Material Suggested Exercises
PHYS 620 Lecture 3: Polarization: A Quantum Approach View Notes
PHYS 620 Lecture 1: Introduction Notes
Lecture notes only.

PHYS 620 Lecture 2: Permittivity: Kramers-Kronig Relations Notes
Handout: Optical Data Overview
Lecture notes only.

PHYS 620 Lecture 4: Interband Transitions and Optical Selection Rules View Notes
Handout: Interband Absorption
PHYS 620 Lecture 5: Diamond and Zincblende Semiconductors: Band Structure View PHYS 620 Lecture 5: Diamond and Zincblende Semiconductors: Band Structure
Handout: Semiconductor Bands
PHYS 620 Lecture 6: Valence Band: Spin-Orbit Coupling and Stress Effects View PHYS 620 Lecture 6: Valence Band: Spin-Orbit Coupling and Stress Effects
PHYS 620 Lecture 7: Effective-Mass Theory, Landau Levels and Franz-Keldysh Oscillations View PHYS 620 Lecture 7: Effective-Mass Theory, Landau Levels and Franz-Keldysh Oscillations
PHYS 620 Lecture 8: Phonons View PHYS 620 Lecture 8: Phonons
Handout: Phonons
PHYS 620 Lecture 9: Fano Interference and Coupled Oscillators View Notes
PHYS 620 Lecture 10: Excitons I View
PHYS 620 Lecture 11: Excitons II View PHYS 620 Lecture 11: Excitons II
Handout: Excitons
PHYS 620 Lecture 12: Excitons III View
PHYS 620 Lecture 13: Metals View
PHYS 620 Lecture 14 : Surface Plasmons View
PHYS 620 Lecture 15: Plasmons in Nanoparticles View