Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials

Course 2 of 4: xMinor in Materials for Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Devices 15 weeks total 11 - 13 hours each week

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About this course

This course from MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering introduces the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, solid state physics, and electricity and magnetism. We use these principles to describe the origins of the electronic, optical, and magnetic properties of materials, and we discuss how these properties can be engineered to suit particular applications, including diodes, optical fibers, LEDs, and solar cells.

In this course, you will find out how the speed of sound is connected to the electronic band gap, what the difference is between a metal and a semiconductor, and how many magnetic domains fit in a nanoparticle. You will explore a wide range of topics in the domains of materials engineering, quantum mechanics, solid state physics that are essential for any engineer or scientist who wants to gain a fuller understanding of the principles underlying modern electronics.

What you’ll learn

  • Discover the quantum mechanical origins of materials properties
  • Explain the origin of electronic bands in semiconductors
  • Learn the operating principles of solid state devices such as solar cells and LEDs
  • Understand the materials physics that underlies the optical and magnetic behavior of materials


Differential and Integral Calculus University-level Electricity & Magnetism Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering, or a knowledge structure and bonding in solid state materials

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

Meet your instructors

Polina Anikeeva

Polina Anikeeva

Class of 1942 Associate Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Polina Anikeeva received her BS in Physics from St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University in 2003. After graduation, she spent a year at the Los Alamos National Lab where she developed photovoltaic cells based on quantum dots. In 2004 she enrolled in a PhD program in Materials Science at MIT and graduated in 2009 with her thesis dedicated to the design of light emitting devices based on organic materials and nanoparticles. She completed her postdoctoral training in neuroscience at Stanford University, where she created devices for optical stimulation and electrical recording from neural circuits. Polina joined the faculty of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in July 2011, where she is now a Class of 1942 career development associate professor. Her lab focuses on the development of flexible and minimally invasive materials and devices for neural recording, stimulation and repair. Polina is also a recipient of NSF CAREER Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award, Dresselhaus Fund Award, and the Technology Review TR35 among others. If you would like to learn more about Prof. Anikeeva’s research interests, take a look at her talk at TEDx Cambridge.
Jessica Sandland

Jessica Sandland

Lecturer & Digital Learning Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jessica Sandland is a Lecturer in the Department of Material Science and Engineering and an MITx Digital Learning Scientist. Jessica leads online learning initiatives in DMSE, creating MOOCs and designing blended courses for MIT students. She has coordinated the development of a wide variety of DMSE’s online courses.

Experience Level


Learning Partner

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Program Type



Electronics Engineering Science