Have you ever seen a phonon?

Anders Blom


At Lund University we have designed a computer exercise devoted to phonons. The idea is that by combining numerical and graphical tools to visualise the temporal and spatial variations of the lattice vibrations, the students will obtain a more intuitive feeling for the relationship between the formulas and the physical reality that they attempt to describe. As an additional bonus, the numerical model can be extended beyond the traditional textbook treatment. Impurities have important consequences for the low-temperature electrical conductivity of metals, but even the simplest models, such as a single impurity in an infinite linear chain, cannot be solved analytically. This system can however easily be considered with our computer model.Here we will summarize the experience gained during the development and teaching of this computer exercise, touching on topics such as computational details and how the computer work can be integrated with the lectures. In addition, the numerical model used and the results derived from it will also be presented, with emphasis on the pedagogical aspects

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