Introduction to Crystal Physics

Lecturers: Johannes Birkenstock


Crystals have to be understood as anisotropic solids. In the first part the most important tool is introduced to describe and quantify reversible physical behavior of crystals in equilibrium: tensor calculus as a tool to describe anisotropic properties quantitatively and to calculate the behavior of crystals on transformations. Symmetry is of similar importance as it determines whether a crystal may exhibit specific properties, such as piezoelectricity, or not. Accordingly, the impact of symmetry on tensor description (usually leading to some ease in the calculus) is explained in detail.
In the second part, special chapters are dedicated to macroscopic physical properties and some details on their determination. Main chapters here are elastic, magnetic and electric properties.


The students will understand the scientific description of reversible physical behavior of crystals in terms of tensor calculus. They will be able to perform the determination of selected properties such as piezoelectricity and to predict if they may be expected for a given symmetry.


written module exam together with crystals optics

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Very close to the lecture in crystal physics:
J.F. Nye (1957): Physical properties of crystals, Oxford

More crystal physics text books:
W. Kleber, K. Meyer, W. Schoenborn (1968): Einführung in die Kristallphysik, Berlin
S. Haussühl (2007): Physical Properties of Crystals: An Introduction
P. Paufler (1987): Physikalische Kristallographie, Verlag Chemie
W.A. Wooster, A. Breton,… (1970): Experimental crystal physics, Oxford
Ch. Kittel (1971): Introduction to solid state physics, N.Y.
W. Voigt (1966, Nachdruck von 1910): Lehrbuch der Kristallphysik, Stuttgart


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