The understanding of the behavior of electrons in solids is one of the keys to understanding materials. The electron theory of solids is capable of explaining optical, magnetic, thermal, as well as electrical properties of materials. In others words, the electron theory provides important fundamentals for a technology which is often considered to be the basis for modern civilization. A few examples will illustrate this. Magnetic materials are used in electric generators, motors, loudspeakers, transformers, tape recorders, and tapes. Optical properties of materials are utilized in lasers, windows, lenses, optical coatings, solar collectors, and reflectors. Thermal properties play a role in refrigeration and heating devices and in heat shields for spacecraft. Some materials are extremely good electrical conductors, such as silver and copper; others are good insulators, such as porcelain or quartz. Semiconductors are generally poor conductors at room temperature. However if traces of certain elements are added, the electrical conductivity increases.


Solar Collector Good Electrical Conductor Optical Coating Electron Theory Poor Conductor 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf E. Hummel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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