Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy


Special Topics Course:
Berry Phases in Solid State Physics

Prof. David Vanderbilt
Office: Serin E291
Phone: 848-445-9049
Office Hours: To be announced


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In the last two decades, it has become increasingly clear that the concepts of Berry phases and Berry curvatures play an important role in many aspects of modern solid-state physics. In this course I will provide a tutorial background on the mathematical concepts, and then show how they apply to a variety of problems in theoretical condensed-matter physics.

The topics to be covered tentatively include:

The syllabus gives further details. If time permits, other topics may be included. The emphasis will be theoretical, working mainly in the framework of single-particle Hamiltonians for crystalline systems.

Prerequisites: Graduate Quantum Mechanics (Physics 501-502 or equivalent) and the first semester of Graduate Solid State Physics (Physics 601 or equivalent).

Lectures: Lectures will be on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:20-11:40pm, meeting in ARC-333 on Mondays and ARC-206 on Wednesdays.

Books: The primary text will be a draft version of a book I am writing on this subject, but other sources will be recommended as appropriate. A tentative list of relevant Books and Review Articles is provided here.

Homeworks and other assignments: Homework problems will be a mix of some problems requiring an analytic hand-written solution, while others will involve the use of the PythTB ("Python Tight Binding") code for the purpose of exploring the properties of simple tight-binding models that illustrate the issues discussed in class. In addition, I intend for there to be a final project that will involve writing a paper, or writing (or exanding) a Wikipedia article on a topic related to the course.

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