Physics 223b

Advanced Condensed Matter Physics, Spring 2017


  • Prof. Xie Chen
  • Office: 163 W. Bridge
  • Mail Code: 149-33
  • Phone: x3793
  • Email: xiechen[at]caltech[dot]edu
  • Office Hour: Friday 3:30-4:30pm


  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Basic statistical mechanics
  • Basic condensed matter theory


  • Mondays 9:00 am - 10:30 am
  • Wednesdays 9:00 am - 10:30 am
  • First lecture, Apr. 3, 2017

Reference Books

  • James F. Annett, Superconductivity, Superfluids, and Condensates
  • Michael Tinkham, Introduction to Superconductivity
  • Marvin Cohen and Steven Louie, Fundamentals of Condensed Matter Physics

Problem Sets

We will have four homeworks, posted on Wednesday in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th week. The homeworks are due in two weeks time, on Wednesday by 5pm in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th week. Please put finished homework in a box marked 'Ph223b Inbox' in Bridge Annex. Solutions will be posted on this website. Graded problem sets can be picked up in a box marked 'Ph223b Outbox' in Bridge Annex.

You may take one full-credit one-week extension on a problem set during the term without question. Please indicate on your problem set if you are taking the extension. Otherwise, problem sets will be accepted for 50% credit up to 1 week late and after that not at all.


There are no exams for this course. At the end of the quarter, everyone needs to give a 15 min presentation and write a short essay on a topic related to the course material. You can choose to work in pairs for this project. The topic should be discussed with me during the course of this class.


70% problem sets, 30% presentation.

Homework and presentation are governed by the honor system.

Teaching Assistants

  • Aaron Chew, achew[at]
  • Recitation / office hour: every Monday 5pm at W. Bridge B156


  • Bose-Einstein condensate and superfluidity
  • Superconductivity: Phenomenology, London equation, BCS theory, Ginzburg-Landau theory, unconventional superconductivity, topological superconductivity
  • Symmetry protected topological phases
  • Spin liquid
  • Matrix product state representation

Lecture Notes

Problem Sets and solutions