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Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Properties of Materials

Discover the physical principles behind diodes, light-emitting devices, and memories.

start date
15 weeks
11-13 hours per week

About this course

This course from MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering introduces the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, solid state physics, and electricity and magnetism. We use these principles to describe the origins of the electronic, optical, and magnetic properties of materials, and we discuss how these properties can be engineered to suit particular applications, including diodes, optical fibers, LEDs, and solar cells.

In this course, you will find out how the speed of sound is connected to the electronic band gap, what the difference is between a metal and a semiconductor, and how many magnetic domains fit in a nanoparticle. You will explore a wide range of topics in the domains of materials engineering, quantum mechanics, solid state physics that are essential for any engineer or scientist who wants to gain a fuller understanding of the principles underlying modern electronics.

What you’ll learn

  • Discover the quantum mechanical origins of materials properties
  • Explain the origin of electronic bands in semiconductors
  • Learn the operating principles of solid state devices such as solar cells and LEDs
  • Understand the materials physics that underlies the optical and magnetic behavior of materials


  • Differential and Integral Calculus
  • University-level Electricity & Magnetism
  • Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering, or a knowledge structure and bonding in solid state materials.

Meet your instructors

  • Polina Anikeeva

    Matoula S. Salapatas Professor in Materials Science and Engineering

  • Jessica Sandland

Who can take this course?

Because of U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) restrictions and other U.S. federal regulations, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea and the Crimea, Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic regions of Ukraine.