Physics of disordered materials

This course is intended for graduate students in physics, chemistry and interdisciplinary materials science. A basic course in solid state physics (for example based on C. Kittel: Introduction to solid state physics) is a desirable prerequisite. The course is given in English.

Aim: To be able to read research papers in the field of disordered materials science, by gaining familiarity with basic physical concepts.

Literature: Lecture notes.

Further reading: N.E. Cusack: The Physics of Structurally Disordered Matter, Adam Hilger, Bristol, 1987. S.R. Elliott: Physics of Amorphous Materials, Longman, London, 1984.

Credits: 6 ECTS credits

Examination: Hand-in assignments that will be distributed during the course.

Responsible: Gunnar Niklasson, Department of Engineering Sciences,The Ångström Laboratory, Room 4412. Tel: 018-4713101 email:


Structural Models: Random amorphous structures, distribution functions, composite materials, fractals, computer models. Structural characterization:Elastic scattering, structure factor, inelastic scattering, small-angle scattering, EXAFS. Atomic vibrations: Vibrational states, infrared spectroscopy, thermal properties, two-level systems, fractons. Electronic structure: Effects of disorder, density of states, localisation, percolation.Electrical transport and optical properties: Scattering by impurities, hopping conductivity, polarons, composites, fractals: anomalous diffusion and conduction, percolation systems. 

Introductory meeting: Thursday April 5, 13-14

Lectures 2018:

  1. Introduction 
  2. Disordered structures  
  3. Structure/characterization  
  4. Structural characterization (reserve)  
  5. Atomic vibrations  
  6. Electronic structure
  7. Electron transport I  
  8. Electron transport II  
  9. Reserve 

Lecture notes and ppts. Copies of powerpoints will be posted here during the course.