Materials Reviews

For the materials review, you should choose a material, or a class of materials, and describe the features which characterize and distinguish this material or class of materials. This is to be done in six pages, excluding the titlepage and references, but including figures, using the Latex template Mat_review.tex (since LaTeX is the official typesetting language of the APS, this language must be used. You must register your topic for your essay/talk in email to before the end of the sixth week of the quarter. In the space below, I will provide guides for LaTeX, some notes on including figures in your essay, instructions how to hand it in (don't use email), examples of previous students work.

Talk Schedule (from random selection)

Feb. Mon. 4

Mustafa Muhammad

Amensisi Abdi

Scott Masturzo

March Tues. 5 *

Suvranta Tripathy

Dagnachew Workie

Greg Braun

March Weds. 6

Ramesh Paudyal

Chi-Yat Ben Yau

Wayne Chan

March Thurs. 7 *

Volodymyr Nahirnyak

Seema Bahinipati

Yong Song

March Fri. 8

Pradeep Bajracharya

Sumith Doluweera

Tharanga Kariyawasam

* If a room is available

Please take a look at John Wilkin's Guides for writing and public speaking before you begin your essay.

Be sure to properly cite all figures, quotations, and references in your essay/talk in accordance with the UC student code of conduct.

Tips for Latex, Figures, using the computer...

For a quick introduction to LaTeX, please see

Figures can be embedded in the LaTeX document using psfig (as well as several other programs). Examples of the use of psfig are in Mat_review.tex. If you use scanned figures, BE SURE THAT YOU SCAN YOUR FIGURES WITH 300 DPI RESOLUTION (DO NOT USE COLOR). If you use screen resolution, the printed figures are generally unreadable. If you use higher than 300 dpi resolution, then the figure files are too big, and will exceed your quota.

If you have trouble embedding the figures, it may be that the computer you are using has an out of date copy of latex. To circumvent this problem, you can compile on my machine (call your essay essay.tex):

  1. Make sure that the file essay.tex and all the necessary postscript figure files have been moved to your account.

  2. Use ssh (secure shell) to log on to and move to the directory with the files.

  3. To log on, use the same username and password you use for email.

  4. To compile your (debugged) LaTeX file into postscript, type

/usr/local/bin/kdelatex_2_ps essay.tex

  1. To compile your (debugged) LaTeX file into pdf, type

/usr/local/bin/kdelatex_2_pdf essay.tex .

Please hand in your assignment in both hard copy before your talk (one to each of your colleagues in class and one to me) and soft copy form (the latter should include both the ps figures and the LaTex file). For the soft copy, please either give me a floppy or leave one the unix system. To do the latter:

  1. Move all of the files (essay.tex,, essay.pdf, associated with your essay to your home directory on any unix machine on the physics network.

  2. Log on to any physics unix machine and change to your home directory


  1. Change the protection of these files so that they are accessible

chmod a+r essay.tex,, essay.pdf,

  1. Change the protection of your home directory so that these files can be accessed

cd ..; chmod a+rx yourusername

  1. Send me an email ( indicating which files to copy.

  2. Once your essay is posted, you may want to change the protection of your home directory so that others cannot access it

cd; cd ..; chmod a-rx yourusername

Guides for writing, examples,...

Please take a look at John Wilkin's Guides for writing and public speaking before you begin your essay.

Some relatively recent examples to previous work of your colleagues are linked below:

Older examples are available also available on the Materials Review archive. Please take a look. The files and are samples of materials reviews (both are excellent) for Galium Arsinide handed in by Gary Troha and Sue Lindsay in 1994. Note that although they are on the same subject, they are quite different (indicating the degree of freedom allowed in this project). Also note that although each author was limited to 6 pages of text and figures, they cover all of the basic ideas: What is GaAs? Why is it special? Why should I care? Where can I learn more (references)?