Theory of superconductivity 2012

Diagram of the Meissner effect



Tfy-3.4801 Low temperature physics: Theory of superconductivity (L, 6 cr)

Time: Fall 2012

Lectures (Prof. N.B. Kopnin) Fridays, at 10:15 to 12:00, in Nanotalo, room 161. The first lecture is on September 14th, 2012.

Exercises (M.Sc. Ville Kauppila) Time of the exercise sessions is Friday 14:15-16:00. The first exercise session will be on September 21st.

Examination Wednesday 19.12.2012 at 9:00-12:00 in K213a (department of mechanical engineering) and Tuesday 29.01.2013 at 16:00-19:00 in K213a (department of mechanical engineering)

Course description

This graduate lecture course provides the theory of a fascinating phenomenon of superconductivity. Using simple and rigorous arguments the course allows a beginner to get prepared to the present-day research in condensed matter physics and nanotechnology, for which understanding superconductivity is indispensable.

Knowledge of basic principles of quantum mechanics is required. Course will be lectured in English.


  • The Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory of superconductivity.
  • Normal-superconducting interfaces.
  • Josephson and tunneling phenomena, weak links.
  • Superconducting nanostructures.


  • The results from the 29.1 exam are here:
Student number Grade
67529D 3
14119806 5
  • The results from the 19.12 exam are here:
Student number Grade
79512U 3
323981 5
310583 3
79314K 3
69877S 2
79614E 3
78885U 5
67529D 0

For those of you who did not pass or were not present in the first exam, there will be a second exam on 29.1.

  • On 19.10 we have no lecture, but we will start the exercise session at 10.15 instead!
  • On 12.10 we'll have two lectures but no exercise session!

Lecture notes

Lecture notes can be found here.

Exercise problems

  • Homework for the first exercise session (21.9): 1.1-1.6 from the lecture notes.
  • Homework for the second exercise session (28.9): 2.1
  • No exercise session on 5.10!
  • No exercise session on 12.10. Instead we have two lectures.
  • Homework for the third exercise session (19.10 at 10.15->): 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8
  • Homework for the fourth session (2.11): 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2
  • Homework for the fifth session (9.11): 3.3, 3.4
  • Homework for the sixth session (16.11): 4.1, 4.2
  • Homework for the seventh session (23.11): 4.3, 4.4, 5.3
  • Homework for the eighth session (30.11): 5.2, 5.4, 5.5
  • Homework for the ninth session (7.12): 6.1, 6.2
  • Homework for the last exercise session (14.12): 7.1, 7.2, 7.3

Each week a set of problems will be given. Each exercise session you will mark down the problems you have managed to solve and for each exercise one of you will be asked to present the solution on the whiteboard. By solving the problems you will get extra points for the exam. The exercise problems can be found at the end of each chapter in the lecture notes.

If you can't make it to the exercise session, you can give your solutions to the assistant in Nanotalo room 162a.


Here is a list of a few suggested books on the subject.

Basic reading:

More advanced:

  • A. A. Abrikosov, Fundamentals of theory of metals. North Holland, Amsterdam. (1998)
  • L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, Statistical physics, part 2: Theory of the condensed state, by E. M. Lifshitz and L. P. Pitaevskii. Pergamon, Oxford. (1980)