This lecture provides an overview of the main physical phenomena linked to electrical and thermal transport as well as thermoelectric effects in materials. It also gives an introduction to spintronics and introduces the key features of electrical transport in nanostructures and low-dimensional systems, including quantum phenomena. Finally, laboratories allow the students to become acquainted with the experimental setup used for the measurements of transport properties as a function of temperature and magnetic field.


1 : Bulk materials

  • Electrical conductivity :  Theoretical expressions - Comparison between metals, semiconductors and semi-metals ' Scattering mechanisms and temperature dependence ' Link with band structure
  • Thermal conductivity : Theoretical expressions for lattice and electronic thermal conductivity ' Scattering mechanisms and temperature dependence - Comparison between different types of materials
  • Introduction to thermoelectricity  : Seebeck et Peltier effects ' Influence of material - Thermoelectric conversion
  • Experimental aspects: Set-up for electrical and thermal measurements
  • Influence of magnetic field : Effect of a magnetic field quantum states of the electron gas and on the electron transport

2 : Nanostructured materials and low-dimensional systems

  • Magnetic nanostructures : Introduction to spintronics, giant magnetoresistance in magnetic multilayers, tunneling magnetoresistance in magnetic tunnel junctions, prospects and concrete applications in spintronics
  • 2D systems: Examples of two-dimensional electron gas, density of states, influence of a magnetic field, quantum Hall effect, weak/strong localisation
  • 1D systems: Examples of one-dimensional electron gas, density of states, diffusive and balistic transport, influence of a magnetic field, universal fluctuations of conductance, Coulomb blockade, quantization of conductance, Aharonov-Bohm effect
  • 0D systems: Examples of quantum dots, single-electron transistor, molecular transport