© 2014

Introduction to the Physics of Matter

Basic atomic, molecular, and solid-state physics


  • Addresses rigorously selected topics in the physics of matter, covering atoms, molecules, and solids

  • Offers detailed understanding based on the fundamental laws of physics

  • Highlights all fundamental equations

  • Contains more than 160 figures providing a clear visual impression of the main concepts


Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Nicola Manini
    Pages 1-10
  3. Nicola Manini
    Pages 11-70
  4. Nicola Manini
    Pages 71-98
  5. Nicola Manini
    Pages 99-146
  6. Nicola Manini
    Pages 147-242
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 243-276

About this book


This book offers an up-to-date, compact presentation of basic topics in the physics of matter, from atoms to molecules to solids, including elements of statistical mechanics. The adiabatic separation of the motion of electrons and nuclei in matter and its spectroscopic implications are outlined for molecules and recalled regularly in the study of the dynamics of gases and solids. Numerous experiments are described and more than 160 figures give a clear visual impression of the main concepts. Sufficient detail of mathematical derivations is provided to enable students to follow easily. The focus is on present-day understanding and especially on phenomena fitting various independent-particle models. The historical development of this understanding, and phenomena such as magnetism and superconductivity, where interparticle interactions and nonadiabatic effects play a crucial role, are mostly omitted. A final outlook section stimulates the curiosity of the reader to pursue the study of such advanced topics in graduate courses.


Adiabatic Separation Electrons in Crystals Equilibrium Ensembles Intramolecular Dynamics Many-electron Atoms One-electron Atoms Textbook Atoms Textbook Molecules Textbook Physics of Matter Textbook Solids Textbook Statistical Mechanics Vibrations of Crystals

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

About the authors

Nicola Manini is an Associate Professor in the Physics Department of the University of Milan, Italy. In 1995, he obtained a PhD in Condensed Matter Theory at SISSA – Trieste, and he has maintained regular collaboration with SISSA since then. He has worked at Yale University, USA, and also at ESRF Grenoble, France. His research has covered various topics in the theory and simulation of matter, including: the role of solitonic waves in atomic-scale friction, electronic and vibrational properties of metals, semiconductors, molecular materials, fullerene, geometric phases and the Jahn-Teller effect, and the collective dynamics of ultracold atomic gases.

Bibliographic information


“Book … meets perfectly well the scope of being an expert assistant guiding the student across what looks today an intricate jungle, pinpointing what is essential and general and what is less, and providing the basic notions for safely enlarging, or specializing, the study on many other excellent, though ponderous, textbooks … . recommend them as a very useful support to any basic course in atomic, molecular and condensed matter physics, whether for undergraduate students in physics or materials science.” (G. Benedek, Il Nuovo Saggiatore,, Vol. 31 (3-4), 2015)