A special course entitled Introduction to superconductivity


Professor Anthony J. Leggett
University Illinois in Urbana Champaign and Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Assisting Instructors:

Professor Ying Liu
Pennsylvania State University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Professor Hang Zheng
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Doctor Shun Wang
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

May 16 – May 18, 2014

Classrooms are to be announced (TBA).

Course Summary

This course is a one-credit, 16-lecture upper-level undergraduate and lower level graduate physics course aimed at providing an overview of physical concepts and fundamental theories of superconductivity, focusing on Bardeen-Cooper, and Schrieffer (BCS) theory, non-s-wave pairing, and examples of unconventional superconductors.


While Professor Leggett will deliver the main lectures, Professors Liu, Zheng and Dr. Wang will provide some additional lectures and recitations to supplement Professor Leggett’s lectures, and oversee the homework and term papers.

Office hours/Recitation

Professor Ying Liu will also hold office hours in Physics Building. He may also offer additional recitation if needed.

Homework Sets and Term Paper
In addition to formal lectures, we will also have homework sets. Solving problems is an effective tool to help you grasp physical concepts and build analytical skills and an integrated part of learning. There will be one problem set for Week 1 and 2 each (two problem sets total).

At the end of the course, each student will write a term paper on a specific subject related to the course. Some possible topics will be provided. You’re also encouraged to pick a subject of your own, but will need to discuss the suitability of your pick with Professors Liu and Zheng.


The numerical grade will be determined by the following distribution:
Homework 50%
Term Paper 40%
Overall performance 10%

Lecture/Recitation/Office Hour Calendar:

Introduction and course organization. A short lecture introducing the phenomenon of superconductivity: Zero resistance and Meissner effect, superconducting energy gap, and the formation of Cooper pairs (Prof. Zheng, Dr. Wang Friday, 4/12, 4:00-5:40 pm).

Lecture 1: Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory I (Prof. Leggett, Monday, 4/15, 2:00-3:40 pm)

Lecture 2: Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory II (Prof. Leggett, Wednesday, 4/17, 2:00-3:40 pm)

Office Hour: Professor Liu, (Friday, 4/19, 8:00-8:45 am)

Recitation 1: Prof. Zheng (Friday, 4/19, 4:00-5:40 pm)

Lecture 3: Superfluid 3He (Prof. Leggett, Monday, 4/22, 2:00-3:40 pm)

Office Hour: Professor Liu (Tuesday, 4/23, 8:00-8:45 am)

Lecture 4: Exotic superconductivity: Definition and diagnostics (Prof. Leggett, Wednesday, 4/24, 2:00-3:40 pm)

Recitation 2: Prof. Zheng (Friday, 4/26, 4:00-5:40 pm)

Lecture 5: Examples of exotic superconductors: Cuprates (Prof. Leggett, Saturday, 4/27, SJTU will follow Monday 4/29 schedule, 2:00-3:40 pm)

Lecture 6A: Sr2RuO4 (Prof. Liu, Friday, 5/3, 8:00 - 9:40 am)
Lecture 6B: Organic superconductors (Guest lecturer: Dr. Shun Wang, Friday, 5/3, 8:00 - 9:40 am)

Final Meeting: Topics and writing requirements (Profs. Liu and Zheng, Friday, 5/3, 4:00-4:45 pm).

Group Discussion with Prof. Leggett: There will be two 30-min group discussions with Prof. Leggett. (Time TBA).

Brief Biography of Professor Anthony J. Leggett
Anthony J. Leggett was born in London, England in March 1938. He attended Balliol College, Oxford where he majored in Literate Humaniores (classical languages and literature, philosophy and Greco-Roman history), and thereafter Merton College, Oxford where he took a second undergraduate degree in Physics. He completed a D.Phil.(Ph.D.) degree in theoretical physics under the supervision of D’ter Haar. After postdoctoral research in Urbana, Kyoto and elsewhere he joined the faculty of the University of Sussex (UK) in 1967, being promoted to Reader in 1971 and to Professor in 1978. In 1983 he became John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a position he currently holds. His principal research interests lie in the areas of condensed matter physics, particularly high-temperature superconductivity, and the foundations of quantum mechanics. Professor Leggett is a member of Royal Society (1980), American Philosophical Society (1991), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996), the National Academy of Sciences (1997), a foreign member of Russian Academy of Sciences (1999), a fellow of the Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, and an honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK) (1999). Professor Leggett received numerous awards, including Maxwell Medal and Prize (Institute of Physics, UK), 1975, Fritz London Memorial Award, 1981, Simon Memorial Prize, 1981, Paul Dirac Medal and Prize (Institute of Physics, UK), 1992, John Bardeen Prize (with G.M. Eliashberg) (M2S), 1994, Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal, 1999, Wolf Prize in Physics (with B.I. Halperin), 2003, and Nobel Prize in Physics (with A.A. Abrikosov and V.L. Ginzburg), 2003.

Brief Biography of Professor Ying Liu
Dr. Ying Liu (刘荧) is a professor of physics at Pennsylvania State University and “1000-Person Project” Hong Wen Chair Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He received a B. S. degree from Peking University, Beijing, a M. S. degree at Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, and a Ph. D. degree from University of Minnesota, all in physics. He joined the faculty of Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University in 1994 after spending three years as a postdoctoral research associate at University of Colorado in Boulder. He had visiting positions at Shanghai Jiaotong University and Zhejiang University. His current research centers in contemporary experimental condensed matter and materials physics, focusing on superconductivity and physics of quantum electronic materials. Systems under current study include chiral p-wave superconductor Sr2RuO4, mesoscopic and single-sheet superconductors, graphene and topological insulators, surfaces and interfaces of transition metal oxides, and strongly correlated quantum materials. Dr. Liu received an NSF Career Award in 1997 and is a fellow of American Physical Society. He received a NSFC Outstanding Young Investigator award (Type B) in 2006 and was a Chang Jiang Chair Professor at Zhejiang University from 2007 to 2010.

Brief Biography of Professor Hang Zheng (郑杭)

Prof. Hang Zheng got a full professor position in the physics department of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 1988 after he completed his PhD thesis in 1985. His research interest focused mainly on the effect of quantum and thermal lattice fluctuations on the quasi-one-dimensional systems, such as the charge-density-wave state and the spin-Peierls one, and the crossover behavior between large and small polarons in many-electron systems. Around 1987, he proposed the squeezed-polaron method to treat the non-adiabaticity of the electron-phonon interaction. He visited Department of Physics, University of Grenoble I, France, as Professeur Invite Etranger in 1988 and Institute for Molecular Science, Japan, as guest professor in 1990. He spent two years (1991-1993) in Freie Universitaet Berlin as Alexander von Humboldt fellow, engaged in doing theoretical research on the mechanism of superconductivity in doped fullerenes and other electron-phonon systems. Since 2004, Prof. Zheng has been studying the quantum physics in open environment and the quantum optics in solid state, especially the effect of the counter-rotating interaction between quantum systems and the environment (or the vacuum).

Brief Biography of Doctor Shun Wang (王顺)
Dr. Shun Wang is a distinguished researcher at the physics department of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He received his Ph. D. degree from the physics department of University of Minnesota in 2005, followed by a postdoc experience at the department of chemical engineering and materials science of University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty of Department of Physics, SJTU in 2013. He’s research areas are charge transport in organic materials, strongly correlated electron systems and thin film transistor devices.

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