Applications for the class of 2017-2019 are now closed.

Applications for the class of 2018-2020 will open in October 2017.

Master SERP+ Programme

Physical chemistry of solid state


  1. Structure of solids.
    1. Crystal lattices: unit cells and Bravais lattices; identification of lattice planes; different nature of close packed structures: metals; alloys; ionic, covalent and molecular structures.
    2. Crystal defects, non-stoichiometry and solid solutions.
  2. Bonding in solids.
    1. Ionic bonding.
    2. Ions and ionic radii.
    3. Lattice energy of ionic crystals.
    4. Validity of the ionic model.
    5. Electronic structure of solids: quantum mechanics review; basics of molecular orbital theory; model of one-dimensional crystal; metallic bonding and band theory; bands in three dimensions; energy bands and density of states; band structure in metals, insulators and semi-conductors; quantum theory of conduction: electrons in simple periodic potential models
    6. Illustrative examples of some inorganic solids including transition metal compounds and graphene.
  3. Phase equilibria and phase transitions in solids.
    1. One-component systems; binary systems: simple eutetics, complex phase reactions, solid solutions; ternary systems. Technologically important phase diagrams.
    2. Melting; order-disorder transitions; magnetic order; spinodal decomposition; nucleation and growth; glasses and glass transition.


At the end of this course, the student should understand the physico-chemical principles underlying the structure, bonding and thermodynamics of the solid state.

Recommended Books

  • “The Physical Chemistry of Solids”, Richard J. Borg and G. J. Dienes, Academic Press Inc., 1992
  • “Solid State Chemistry and its Applications” Anthony R. West  , 2nd Edition, Student Edition, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2014
  • “Quanta, Matter, and Change”, Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula and Ronald Friedman, Oxford Univ. Press, 2009.

Teaching Staff

Maria Agostinha Matos (course coordinator)
Alexandre L. Magalhães
Eduardo F. Marques


Lectures: 28 h
Tutorials: 28 h

Grading System

Exam: 70%
Oral Presentations: 30%