Commit e4944d91 authored by Anton Akhmerov's avatar Anton Akhmerov
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update lecture 6

parent ccce9b85
......@@ -130,6 +130,38 @@ Extended BZ (n-th band within n-th BZ):
* Easy to relate to free electron model
* Contains discontinuities
## Band structure
How are material properties related to the band structure?
For a material to be a conductor, there should be available electron states at the Fermi level. Otherwise all the states are occupied, and all the currents cancel out.
A band structure of a 1D material may look similar to this:
We see several **energy bands** that may be separated by a **band gap** or overlapping.
When the Fermi level lies in the band gap, the material is called a semiconductor (or dielectric or insulator). When the Fermi level is between different bands, it is a conductor (metal).
### A simple requirement for insulators
In an insulator every single band is either completely filled or completely empty.
How many electrons may an insulator have per unit cell? To answer this we need to integrate the density of states. Integrating $g(E)$ is hard, but integrating $\rho(k)$ is easy.
For a single band
$$ N = 2 \int_{BZ}dk_x dk_y dk_z [L\times W\times H] (2\pi)^{-3} = 2 LWH $$
So a single band has 2 electrons per unit cell (because of spin).
We come to the important rule:
> Any material with an odd number of electrons per unit cell is a metal.
If the material has an even number of electrons per unit cell it may be a semiconductor, but only if the bands are not overlapping (see the figure above). For example: Si, Ge, Sn all have 4 valence electrons. Si (silicon, band gap 1.14 eV) and Ge (germanium, band gap 0.67 eV) are semiconductors, Sn (tin) is a metal. **Interesting feature: the heaviest material is a metal, why?**
## Fermi surface using a nearly free electron model
Sequence of steps (same procedure as in 1D, but harder because of the need to imagine a 2D dispersion relation):
......@@ -144,9 +176,29 @@ If $V$ is sufficiently weak, the material can be conducting even with 2 electron
A larger $V$ makes the Fermi surface more square-like and eventually makes the material insulating.
### Light adsorption
Photons of external light can be reflected, transmitted, or adsorbed by the material. Adsorption, in turn requires energy transfer from the photon to electrons. In a filled band there are no available states where energy could be transferred (that's why insulators may be transparent).
When transition between two bands becomes possible due to photons having high energy, the adsorption increases in a step-like fashion, see the sketch below for germanium.
Here $E'_G\approx 0.9eV$ and $E_G\approx 0.8 eV$. The two steps visible steps are due to the special band structure of Ge:
The band structure has two band gaps: *direct*, the band gap at $k=0$, $E'_G$ and *indirect* gap $E_G$ at any $k$. In Ge $E_G > E'_G$, and therefore it is an *indirect band gap semiconductor*. Silicon also has an indirect band gap. Direct band gap materials are for example GaAs and InAs.
Photons carry very little momentum and a very high energy since $E = c \hbar k$ and $c$ is large. Therefore to excite electrons at $E_G$, despite a lower photon energy is sufficient, there is not enough momentum. Then an extra phonon is required. Phonons may have a very large momentum at room temperature, and a very low energy since atomic mass is much higher than electron mass.
A joint adsorbtion of a photon and a phonon collision may excite an electron across an indirect band gap, however this process is much less efficient, and therefore are much worse for optics applications (light emitting diodes, light sensors, etc).
## Summary
* In periodic potential all electron states are **Bloch waves**
* Electron dispersion is organized into **energy bands** that may overlap, or may be separated by **band gaps**
* If the number of electrons per unit cell is odd, the material must be conducting.
* If the lattice potential is weak, the dispersion can be obtained by copying $p^2/2m$ into different Brillouin zones, and opening gaps at every level crossing. Each gap is equal to the Fourier component of the lattice potential.
* If the number of electrons per unit cell is odd, the material must be conducting.
* Each band hosts $2N$ eletrons, therefore a material with odd number of electrons is a metal; that with an even number of electrons may be an insulator.
* Light adsorption is a tool to measure the band gap, and it distinguishes **direct** from **indirect** band gaps.
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