Credits: 5

Schedule: 11.09.2018 - 22.10.2018

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Prof. Jari Koskinen

Other teachers: Uni. Teacher Kirsi Yliniemi

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

You can contact the teachers by sending email to:

University Lecturer Kirsi Yliniemi,

professor Jari Koskinen,

You are also always welcome to ask questions after the lecturers and exercise sessions, and if necessary when can book a longer time to discuss.

Teaching Period (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 


Learning Outcomes (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

After the course, the student can
1. Explain electrical, thermal, dielectric and magnetic properties from classical or quantum world viewpoint
2. Calculate the main parameters of the abovementioned properties for different materials
3. Describe the working principles of smart materials in sensors and actuators
4. Ask critical questions about peers' work and give constructive peer-feedback (opponenting)


Content (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

The course gives a physico-chemical overview of thermal, electric, dielectric and magnetic properties of solid state materials. Additionally, different types of smart materials (shape-memory alloys, magnetostrictive & piezoelectric materials, electroactive polymers) are discussed, especially in the view of sensor and actuator applications. The course has also a compulsory Term Paper (group) project.

Details on the course content (applies in this implementation): 

After the Course Student

Should know:

Magnetic properties: origin of magnetism, magnetic moment of an atom, coupling and total quantum numbers, magnetization of a material, exchange energy , crystal field effects, ferro- and paramagnetism, Pauli paramagnetism, hysteris and domains

Electric Properties: metals, insulators and semiconductors based on the band theory, Kronig-Penney model and allowed and forbidden energy zones, Drude model (drift velocity, conductivity), Density of states, Fermi energy and Fermi level, intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors (doping), temperature depence of conductivity

Dielectric properties: relative permittivity and polarisation, piezoelectric mechanism, piezoelectric crystals and polymers

Thermal properties: phonons and phonon waves, heat capacity, thermal conductivity, thermal expansion and interatomic potentials

Smart materials: working principles of piezoelectric materials, electroactive polymers, magnetostrictive materials and shape-memroy alloys

Nice to know:

Magnetic properties: antiferromagnetism, superexchange, cubic spinel ferrites, Garnet structures, hexagonal ferrites, double exchange, hard and soft magnetic materials

Electric Properties: conducting polymers, carrier concentration, band-gap measurement, p-n junctions, LEDs, superconductivity

Dielectric properties: pyro- and ferroelectrics, hysteresis and domain growth in ferroelectrics

Thermal properties: thermal contraction, zero thermal contraction materials, thermoelectric effects

Smart materials: processing of selected smart materials, realistic future potential of selected smart materials

Assessment Methods and Criteria (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Active involvement in weekly exercise sessions and lectures, Term Paper and exam all contribute towards the grade.

Elaboration of the evaluation criteria and methods, and acquainting students with the evaluation (applies in this implementation): 

Activating Exercises

During lectures - max 0.5 p/ lecture: 10 x 0.5 points --> Max. 5 points


4 p / exercise session: 5 x 4 p --> Max. 20 p

Group Work

Written report/Video Review: Max. 5 points

Presentation:Max. 5 points

Opponenting:Max. 5 points

Exam (5 points / exercise): 5 x 5 points --> Max. 25 points

TOTAL: Max 65 points (to pass: min 32 points)


Compensating missed activating exercises (done during lectures): 100 %

Compensating missed exercise session: 75 %

Workload (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

22 h (5 x 4 h + 1 x 2h): Lectures
4 h (2 x 2 h): Term Paper Presentations & Opponenting
15 h (5 x 3 h): Exercises
40 h: Independent study time
35 h: Term Paper (group project)
15 h + 4 h: Exam preparation + Exam

Details on calculating the workload (applies in this implementation): 

22 h (5 x 4 h + 1 x 2h): Lectures
4 h (2 x 2 h): Group Work Presentations & Opponenting
15 h (5 x 3 h): Exercises
40 h: Independent study time
35 h: Group Work
15 h + 4 h: Exam preparation + Exam

Study Material (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Primary course book: R.J.D. Tilley, Understanding Solids - The Science of Materials (Wiley, 2nd edition, 2013).

Handouts, scientific papers

Also, some lectures may follow / go deeper into a topic using other solid-state physics books (such as J. Patterson, B. Bailey: Solid-State Physics - Introduction to the Theory, 2nd Ed., 2010 or R. J. Nauman: Introduction to Physics and Chemistry of Materials or S. Elliott: The Physics and Chemistry of Solids).

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 

Links can be found from the MC's front page.

Substitutes for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

MT-0.2101 Materiaalien fysiikka (5 op)

Course Homepage (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020):

Prerequisites (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

BSc with at least 10 cr of physics. Students with B.Sc. from Aalto, the credits should include: PHYS-A2140 Aineen rakenne (CHEM), 5 cr.

Grading Scale (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Fail, 1 – 5

Registration for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 


Additional information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

Welcome to get excited of solid-state materials. Please, remember that this type of content and abstract topåics cannot be learnt simply by reaidng the slides - come to the sessions and read the course book!

Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 


Tuesdays 10-12

Thursday 08-10

Submission of compensating Activating Exercises: Fridays 10 am (Note! Compensation: 100 % of points)

Exercise Sessions:

Fridays 10-13

Exercises will be published 24 h before the session, but you can make all the exercises in the session where you get hints and the exericses are then peer-reviewed.

If you have a valid reason to miss the session, you can compensate the exercises by submitting them to MC: Fridays 11:30 am (Note! Compensation: 75 % of points / session)

Group Work

Submission of Group Work: 11th October, 23:55

Group work presentations & opponenting: 16th and 18th October (compulsory attendance).


Registration and further information