quasiparticle of mechanical vibrations

A phonon a collective excitation in a periodic, elastic arrangement of atoms or molecules in solids and some liquids. The concept was introduced in 1932 by Igor Tamm.


  • That electron-phonon interactions lead to an effective attractive interaction between electrons by exchange of virtual photons was shown by Fröhlich by use of field-theoretic methods. His analysis was extended by Pines and myself to include Coulomb interactions. In second order, there is an effective interaction between the quasi-particle excitations of the normal state which is the sum of the attractive phonon-induced interaction and a screened Coulomb interaction. In the Handbuch article, I suggested that one should take the complete interaction, not just the self-energy tens, and use it for a theory of superconductivity.
  • The phonons are well known as the quanta of lattice vibrations. These lattice vibrations are the most understood from successful theories of condensed matter physics and can be considered as a milestone in the comprehension of the properties of condensed materials. Ranging from the infrared, Raman, neutron and in the recent years, synchrotron spectra to the anharmonic properties as well as the electron phonon interactions and superconductivity, there is little left in which the phonons do not play a vital role. In order to understand the material properties, however, the modelling of microscopic interactions intrinsically involved between electrons and ions, remained an ambitious and affordable tool over decades. One of the remarkable developments in physics of phonons is the concept of Rigid Shell Model (RSM) ... derived from the original crystal lattice theory of Born and Huang ..., which includes the microscopic electron-phonon interactions in several classes of non-metallic solids.
  • As the concept of a phonon originates from relative motion of the atoms, rather than the motion of their centre of mass, a phonon in a crystal does not carry a momentum. However, for practical purposes we assign a momentum  q to a phonon in the qth mode. For this reason a phonon is called a quasi-particle.

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