Theory of superconductivity

Below the transition temperature, the resistivity of a superconductor drops to zero.



Tfy-3.4801 Low temperature physics: Theory of superconductivity (L, 5 cr)

Time: Fall 2008

Lectures (Prof. N.B. Kopnin) on Tuesdays at 12-14 in Nanopoli/Nanotalo 227, starting on the 9.9.

Exercises (M.Sc. Matti Laakso) on Mondays at 12-14 in Nanopoli/Nanotalo 227, starting on the 15.9.

Next exam TBA

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.


12.2. The final results of the second exam can be seen here.

9.1. The next exam is on February 10. Enroll to the exam using WebOodi.

8.1. The final results of the course can be seen here. If you have questions regarding the grading, contact the lecturer.

4.12. New version of the lecture notes, dated December 3, has been uploaded.

4.12. Remember to enroll to the exam using WebOodi. You are allowed to use the lecture notes during the exam, so bring your own copy with you.

2.12. The last exercise session will be held on 8.12. and the last lecture on 9.12.

10.11. New version of the lecture notes, dated November 10, has been uploaded.

21.10. The next exercise session will be on November 10.

20.10. Due to the exam period there are no lectures or exercise sessions next week (week 44).

18.9. New version of the lecture notes has been uploaded. They will be updated during the course.

9.9. The first lecture was held on 9.9. In case you couldn't attend, and still wish to participate in the course, please enroll by sending an e-mail to the course assistant.

Lecture notes

Lecture notes can be found here.

Exercise problems

Each week a set of problems will be given. The students are expected to solve them and return their solutions to the course assistant before (or in the beginning of) the next exercise session. 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.

  • 15.9. Problems 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5
  • 22.9. Problems 1.1, 1.2 and 2.1
  • 29.9. Problems 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4
  • 6.10. Problems 2.5, 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8
  • 13.10. Problems 3.1 and 3.2
  • 20.10. Problems 3.3 and 3.4
  • 10.11. Problems 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4
  • 17.11. Problems 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3
  • 24.11. Problems 5.4 and 5.5
  • 1.12. Problems 6.1 and 6.2
  • 8.12. Problems 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3

Exercise points


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)