This course deals mainly with the influence of interactions on the electrons in materials. We begin with a review of second quantisation and the Fermi gas theory of metals, and then progress to Landau’s Fermi liquid theory and the notion of quasiparticles. The effect of impurities on the Fermi liquid (including the Kondo effect) is discussed, and we then move on to consider how the Fermi liquid gives way to other phases as the interactions are increased, concentrating on the Stoner instability and the Mott insulator. We analyse the magnetism in the Mott insulating phase, developing the concept of spin waves. Finally, we make a survey of some experimental data on strongly correlated crystalline solids, giving basic interpretations in terms of the concepts developed in the course.

Chris Hooley is a theoretical condensed matter physicist at the University of St Andrews, and is interested in many aspects of the quantum many-body problem.