I had an extended conversation with a colleague over the weekend about what he (as a non-solid state chemist) should convey to students about solids. Happily, this conversation was made all the more pleasant by L'énorme (GIANT cone of Belgian fries) and some good beer. Here's what I think are the 7 things that students should know about solids coming out of an inorganic chemistry course. Maybe you don't have time or expertise do all 7, but some is better than none.
1. Visualizing structures of solids: Unit cells, coordination numbers and stoichiometry in the structures of metals and nonmetals, basic ionic solids, and examples from complex structure types (i.e. perovskites or zeolites or MOFs)
2. The possibilities offered by the formation of solid solutions: i.e. tuning the band gap in GaAsxP1-x
3. Basic electronic structure of metals vs. semiconductors vs. insulators
4. Electrical conductivity in solids: electrical vs. ionic conductivity, possibly superconductivity
5. Doping in semiconductors: n-type vs. p-type silicon, for example
6. Magnetism in solids: diamagnetism, paramagnetism, ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, and ferrimagnetism (even a basic understanding here of what the difference is between these three types of magnetic ordering is fine)
7. Some discussion of the inorganic chemistry of a technologically important solid or class of solids: This could be drawn from semiconductors, LEDs, lithium ion battery materials, superconductors, catalysts, or magnets. The important point is to connect the properties of the material in some way to structure and composition.
What do you think of this list? Other topics you would add? If you only had time to do 3, which 3 are most important to you?