Electric Conductor or Insulator?—Energy Bands
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Application of quantum mechanics to the electrons in the periodic potential of the crystal lattice yields the energy bands separated from each other by forbidden energy gaps. The approximations with bound electrons (F. Bloch) and with nearly-free electrons (R. Peierls) are discussed. Depending on how the energy states within the bands are occupied by electrons, we deal with electrical conductors, semiconductors, or insulators.