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Material Physics


Programme (detailed contents) :

Cohesion of Solids :

- Models of cohesive energy of the solid state : example of ionic crystals and metals.

- Properties and physical quantities related to cohesion: compressibility, thermal expansion, melting temperature, allotropic transformations, …

Structure of crystalline materials :

- The perfect crystal : definition and description of some usual ionic and covalent structures.

- Crystal lattice and unit cell : definitions and properties 

- Reciprocal lattice : definition and properties 

- Symmetry in perfect crystals : definition and representation of point and space groups.

- Interaction of X-rays and electrons with matter : scattering, absorption, emission of X-rays, conditions of diffraction and calculation of the diffracted intensities.

- Main methods of structural characterization of crystals, powders and thin films.

Plastic deformation and fracture of crystalline materials :

-  Brittleness, ductility, plasticity of crystalline materials

-  Dislocations : definition, theory of dislocations, interaction, mobility and plasticity.

- Brittle fracture, cleavage.

Anisotropic physical properties of crystalline materials :

- Physical quantities, anisotropic physical properties : Definitions, relationships, and tensor representations and engineering notation.

- Physical quantities and static physical properties of crystals : mechanical (stress, strain and elasticity), electric and optical (electric-field, -displacement and -polarization, electric permittivity), thermal (temperature, entropy, heat capacity)

- The main couplings : electrothermal, electromechanical, thermoelastic : zoom on piezoelectricity

- Acousto-optic and electro-optic effects : mastery and main applications




This UF « Material physics » is strongly coupled with the UF « Applied material physics ».

It is divided in four main parts :

- COHESION : Lecture : 7,5h / Tutorial : 3,75h

- STRUCTURE : Lec. : 15h  / Tut. : 6,25h / Lab work : 15h

- DEFORMATION : Lec. : 6,25h / Tut. : 5h

- ANISOTROPY : Lec. : 7,5h / Tut. : 3,75h



Main difficulties for students:


Math : solving differential equations, tensor calculus.



At the end of this module, the student will have understood and be able to explain (main concepts):

- the physical models of cohesion of solid materials at atomic and molecular scale, as well as the links between these models and some macroscopic physical quantities.

- the diffraction of X-rays and electrons by the atoms of the crystalline lattice

- the relations between defects and dislocations in the atomic structure and some macroscopic mechanical properties of crystals.

- the tensorial mathematical tool to express and quantify some physical quantities, and some anisotropic physical properties of crystals.

- the relations between the crystalline symetries and the anisotropy of the macroscopic physical properties of crystals : principles of Curie and von Neumann.


The student will be able to :

- characterize the atomic structure and orient a Crystal : implement the basic techniques of X-ray and electron diffraction, then analyse the results.

- describe from a geometric and energetic point of view the  dislocations and their interactions, and put them in relations with mechanical properties of the crystalline material : fragility and ductility

- calculate and predict (electrical, thermal, mechanical) effects resulting from (electrical, thermal, mechanical) constraints applied to the crystal in  some particular directions. 

- master the piezoelectric effect for sensors and micro-actuators applications, and the acousto-optic and electro-optic effects for optical filters, modulators, scanners and optoelectronic components.

Needed prerequisite

Notions of Crystallography, matrix algebra, resolution of  differential equations.

Form of assessment

The evaluation of outcome prior learning is made as a continuous training during the semester. According ot the teaching, the assessment will be different: as a written exam, an oral exam, a record, a written report, peers review...


Comment : most lectures are duplicated

- Cristallographie géométrique et radiocristallographie; J.-J. Rousseau et A. Gibaud ; Dunod- ISBN 978-2-10-050198-4

- GERL, ISSI, Physique des Matériaux ; Traité des Matériaux Volume 8, Presses Universitaires Romandes, 1997

- DORLOT, BAILON, MASOUNAVE, Des Matériaux, Editions de l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal, 1986

- PHILIBERT, VIGNES, BRECHET, COMBRADE, Métallurgie : du minerai au matériau, Masson, 1997

- ASHBY, JONES, Matériaux vol1. et vol. 2, Dunod, 1991, 2008

- MARTIN JL, Dislocations et plasticité des cristaux, Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, 2000

- Physical Properties of Crystals: Their Representation by Tensors and Matrices, J.F. Nye, Oxford Science Publications

- Fundamentals of Photonics, B.E.A. Saleh and M.C. Teich, Wiley, 2013