MatSE 584: Point and Line Defects

Fall 2018


TR 12:30–2:00pm in 305 MSEB 2101 Everitt Hall

Course content



Students will be able to

  1. critically review the scientific literature;
  2. apply your knowledge to answer scientific questions related to defects;
  3. apply thermodynamics, mechanics, and quantum theory to the properties of defects;
  4. connect defect properties to macroscale material properties;
  5. explain their reasoning to their colleagues in small and large settings;
  6. work together with their colleagues in a professional, scientific manner.



Dallas R. Trinkle (; 308 MSEB in the west stairwell).

Teaching approach: Team-based learning

An “active learning” approach where we focus on the course objectives: applying knowledge to answer scientific questions about defects and critically engaging with the scientific literature. You will:

Team-based learning: Team basics1

First off: Teams are not easy.

As you will find out, group work is not always easy. Team members sometimes cannot prepare for or attend group sessions because of other responsibilities, and conflicts often result from differing skill levels and work ethics. When teams work and communicate well, however, the benefits more than compensate for the difficulties. Chances of success are greatly improved if there is an agreement beforehand on what everyone on team expects from everyone else: Team expectations.

In addition, the real world, for the most part, requires people to work together and interface skills, etc. Teamwork is a highly valued skill, but like all skills, requires practice.

Team-based learning: Team construction and expectations

Realistic: “We will have read the assigned papers and attempt all prelecture problems before class.” or “We will make sure any who misses meeting for good cause gets caught up on work.” Unrealistic: “We will give 110% on every assignment.” Or, “We will read 20 papers in addition to the assigned papers before meeting.” Or, “We will never miss a meeting upon penalty of DEATH.”

Team-based learning: Logistics

The course will cover 8 subtopics in point and line defects. Each week:

Prelecture questions

Concept quizzes

Literature assessment2

The primary driver for our class is engaging actively with scientific literature. This is a primary activity for scientists, and is a skill. It requires

Minute paper

In the final minutes of Thursday’s class, we will conclude with a minute paper which helps to synthesize your understanding of the lecture, think about your questions, and prime discussion for the next class period. This will be done electronically using the link: There, you will have three questions:

  1. What are the two (or more) most significant (central, useful, meaningful, surprising) things you have learned during this lecture?
  2. What main question(s) remain for you?
  3. Is there anything that you did not understand?

Following class, I will compile the questions, organize them, and answer some of them online (on the course website). Your responses also help me to adjust the course as needed.

One-on-one meetings

We will meet multiple times (at least twice, possibly three) for 20-30 minutes one-on-one during the semester to discuss your understanding of the topics we’ve discussed in class. There will be one at the culmination of the point defect topics, and one at the culmination of the line defect topics. These meetings can be considered exams, and your grade will depend on the level of understanding you demonstrate in these meetings. After each one-on-one meeting, you will be provided a written report discussing your performance. This is unusual, but it has been successful in many high level courses. Do not hesitate to ask questions.


Breakdown determined by majority vote in class:

All participating team members receive the same grade; however, this will be adjusted based on peer evaluation of member contributions over the course of the semester.

Academic Integrity, Harassment, and Discrimination

You are bound by the University Honor Code in this course. Any violation of the Honor Code will result in disciplinary action. Please read the university’s academic integrity policies online, especially the section on plagiarism which is not allowed under any circumstances. In addition, harassment or discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. Please report any concerns immediately to your professor.

Changes to syllabus

May occur as deemed necessary by the professor; they will be announced and the updated syllabus posted on the course website.

Accessing files

The Univ. Illinois library has access to a huge variety of electronic resources; this plus additional online resources will be our references. Many can be accessed from the library’s website, or via the campus VPN. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the library proxy. This is done by appending to the web address; when reloaded, you will be asked for Univ. Illinois authentication, and then will be able to access the resource as if you were on campus. In general, this authentication is required only once per session. So, the website

would become

Alternatively, install the Proxy Bookmarklet which makes it extremely easy to use the proxy. I highly recommend this method.

Google Drive / Google Apps @ Illinois

In addition, we will use Google Drive to share files. You should have an “infinite” amount of free storage on Google Drive, and you can set up Google Drive so that files are automatically synced to your computer. You may want to upload PDFs from the pre-lecture reading there; if you place these PDFs in the shared folder, please name them FirstAuthorLastName-Journal-Year.pdf so that they remain organized. The team slides will be made available using Google Apps.

This means that you will need to either:

Your campus Google account will be separate from an existing Google account, should you have one.

Lecture topics and reading calendar

Tuesday Thursday notes
8/28 8/30 intro to MSE584 / concept review
9/4 9/6 concept review / practice concept quiz
9/11 9/13 Topic 1: how many PDs are in a material?, PDF
9/18 9/20 Topic 2: how do PDs change electronic properties?, PDF
9/25 9/27 Topic 3: how do PDs react in an open system?, PDF
10/02 10/04 Topic 4: how do PDs diffuse?, PDF
10/09 10/11 no class (One-on-one meetings)
10/16 10/18 concept review
10/23 10/25 Topic 5: what is the core structure of a \(\perp\)?, PDF
10/30 11/1 Topic 6: how do PDs and \(\perp\)s interact?, PDF
11/6 11/8 Topic 7: how do \(\perp\)s move in a material?, PDF
11/13 11/15 Topic 8: how do \(\perp\)s interact?, PDF
11/20 11/22 Thanksgiving break
11/27 11/29 no class (MRS meeting)
12/4 12/6 no class (One-on-one meetings)
12/11 12/13 Review discussion day (Tuesday)

Background reading

You may want to review the following references to refresh yourself on particular prerequisite topics:

  1. Adapted from Prof. Richard Felder, NCSU.

  2. This is what your advisor and future employers (academic, labs, industry) will expect you to be able to do after you graduate.