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Semiconductors

  • Harald Ibach
  • Hans Lüth
Part of the Advanced Texts in Physics book series (ADTP)

Abstract

In Sect. 9.2 we learned that only a partly filled electronic band can contribute to electric current. Completely filled bands and completely empty bands do not contribute to electrical conductivity and a material which has only completely full and completely empty bands is therefore an insulator. If the distance between the upper edge of the highest filled band (valence band) and the lower edge of the lowest empty band (conduction band) is not too large (e.g.~1 eV), then the finite width of the region over which the Fermi distribution changes rapidly has observable consequences at moderate and high temperatures: A small fraction of the states in the vicinity of the upper edge of the valence band is unoccupied and the corresponding electrons are found in the conduction band. Both these “thermally excited” electrons and the holes that they leave in the valence band can carry electric current. In this case one speaks of a semiconductor. In Fig. 12.1 the differences between a metal, a semiconductor and an insulator are summarized schematically.

Keywords

Conduction Band Valence Band Fermi Level Light Emit Diode Molecular Beam Epitaxy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harald Ibach
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hans Lüth
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Schichten und GrenzflächenForschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJülichGermany
  2. 2.Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische HochschuleAachenGermany

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