# Free Electron Fermi Gas (Kittel Ch. 6)

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1 Free Electron Fermi Gas (Kittel Ch. 6)

2 Role of Electrons in Solids Electrons are responsible for binding of crystals -- they are the glue that hold the nuclei together Types of binding (see next slide) Van der Waals - electronic polarizability Ionic - electron transfer Covalent - electron bonds Electrons are responsible for important properties: Electrical conductivity in metals (But why are some solids insulators?) Magnetism Optical properties....

3 Characteristic types of binding Closed-Shell Binding Van der Waals Ionic Binding Covalent Binding Metallic Binding

4 Starting Point for Understanding Electrons in Solids Nature of a metal: Electrons can become free of the nuclei and move between nuclei since we observe electrical conductivity Electron Gas Simplest possible model for a metal - electrons are completely free of the nuclei - nuclei are replaced by a smooth background -- Electrons in a box

5 Electron Gas - History Electron Gas model predates quantum mechanics Electrons Discovered in 1897 Drude-Lorentz Model (1905)- Electrons - classical particles free to move in a box Model: All electrons contribute to conductivity. Works! Still used! But same model predicted that all electrons contribute to heat capacity. Disaster. Heat capacity is MUCH less than predicted.

6 Quantum Mechanics 1911: Bohr Model for H 1923: Wave Nature of Particles Proposed Prince Louis de Broglie : Development of Quantum Mechanics - Schrodinger equation 1924: Bose-Einstein Statistics for Identical Particles (phonons,...) : Pauli Exclusion Principle, Fermi-Dirac Statistics (electrons,...) 1925: Spin of the Electron (spin = 1/2) G. E. Uhlenbeck and S. Goudsmit Schrodinger

7 Schrodinger Equation Basic equation of Quantum Mechanics [ - ( h/2m ) 2 + V( r ) ] Ψ ( r ) = E Ψ ( r ) where m = mass of particle V( r ) = potential energy at point r 2 = (d 2 /dx 2 + d 2 /dy 2 + d 2 /dz 2 ) E = eigenvalue = energy of quantum state Ψ ( r ) = wavefunction n ( r ) = Ψ ( r ) 2 = probability density

8 Schrodinger Equation 1D line Suppose particles can move freely on a line with position x, 0 < x < L 0 L Schrodinger Eq. In 1D with V = 0 -( h 2 /2m ) d 2 /dx 2 Ψ (x) = E Ψ (x) Boundary Condition Solution with Ψ (x) = 0 at x = 0,L Ψ (x) = 2 1/2 L -1/2 sin(kx), k = n π/l, n = 1,2,... (Note similarity to vibration waves) Factor chosen so 0 L dx Ψ (x) 2 = 1 E (k) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2

9 Electrons on a line Solution with Ψ (x) = 0 at x = 0,L Examples of waves - same picture as for lattice vibrations except that here Ψ (x) is a continuous wave instead of representing atom displacements Ψ 0 L

10 Electrons on a line For electrons in a box, the energy is just the kinetic energy which is quantized because the waves must fit into the box E (k) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2, k = n π/l, n = 1,2,... E Approaches continuum as L becomes large k

11 Schrodinger Equation 1D line E (k) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2, k = n π/l, n = 1,2,... Lowest energy solutions with Ψ (x) = 0 at x = 0,L Ψ (x) x

12 Electrons in 3 dimensions -(h 2 /2m ) [d 2 /dx 2 + d 2 /dy 2 + d 2 /dz 2 ] Ψ (x,y,z) = E Ψ (x,y,z) Ψ (x) = 0 at x = 0,L; Ψ (y) = 0 at y = 0,L ; Ψ (z) = 0 at z = 0,L Ψ = 2 3/2 L -3/2 sin(k x x) sin(k y y) sin(k z z), k x = n π/l, n = 1,2,, same for y,z E (k) = ( h 2 /2m ) (k x2 + k y2 + k z2 ) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2 E Approaches continuum as L becomes large k

13 Electrons in 3 dimensions - continued Just as for phonons it is convenient to define Ψ with periodic boundary conditions Ψ is a traveling plane wave: Ψ = L -3/2 exp( i(k x x+ k y y+ k z z), k x = ± n (2π/L), etc., n = 0,1,2,.. E (k) = ( h 2 /2m ) (k x2 + k y2 + k z2 ) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2 E Approaches continuum as L becomes large k

14 Density of states Key point - exactly the same as for vibration waves We need the number of states per unit energy to find the total energy and the thermal properties of the electron gas. Difference: density of states is defined in terms of energy E, not angular frequency. D(E)dE - number of states in energy range E to E+dE States in interval (k, E) to (k+ k, E+ E) N= N(k) k=n(e) E dn/de=(dn/dk)/(de/dk)

15 Density of States in 3D The values of k x k y k z are equally spaced: k x = 2π/L,. Thus the volume in k space per state is (2π/L) 3 and the number of states N with k < k 0 is N = (4π/3) k 03 / (2π/L) 3 = V/6π 2 k 3 0 L 3 =V The density of states per unit energy is D(E) = dn/de = (dn/dk) (dk/de) E = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2, de/dk = ( h 2 /m ) k D(E) = (V/2π 2 ) k 2 / (h 2 /m ) k = (V/2π 2 ) k / (h 2 /m ) = (V/4π 2 ) E 1/2 (2m / h 2 ) 3/2 Kittel adds a factor of 2 for multiplicity of electrons in the same state (spin): D(E) = (V/2π 2 ) E 1/2 (2m / h 2 ) 3/2

16 Electron orbitals In 1D E (k) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2, k = n π/l, n = 1,2, In 3D E (k) = ( h 2 /2m ) (k x2 + k y2 + k z2 ) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2 k x, k y k z = ± n (2π/L), etc., n = 0,1,2,.. Thus E 1D (k) = n 2 ( h 2 /2m ) (π /L) 2 E 3D (k) = (n x +n y +n z ) 2 ( h 2 /2m ) (2π /L) 2 To describe a system of N elec electrons, we assign the electrons to orbitals of increasing energy, until all orbitals are filled. Order of filling: n=1, 2,.. n F n F - topmost filled energy level (Fermi level)

17 Electron orbitals D(E)= (V/2π 2 ) E 1/2 (2m / h 2 ) 3/2 D(E) Filled E F Empty E Now we need to figure out how many electrons are on a given orbital (electron occupancy)

18 What is special about electrons? Fermions - obey exclusion principle Fermions have spin s = 1/2 - two electrons (spin up and spin down) can occupy each state Kinetic energy = ( p 2 /2m ) = ( h 2 /2m ) k 2 Thus if we know the number of electrons per unit volume N elec /V, the lowest energy allowed state is for the lowest N elec /2 states to be filled with 2 electrons each, and all the (infinite) number of other states to be empty. The number of states with k < k 0 is N = (V/6π 2 ) k 0 3 (from before)

19 Fermi momentum and energy Thus all states are filled up to the Fermi momentum k F and Fermi energy E F = ( h 2 /2m ) k F2, given by N elec /2 = (V/6π 2 ) k F 3 k F = (3π 2 N elec /V ) 1/3 and E F = (h 2 /2m) (3π 2 N elec /V ) 2/3 Reciprocal space Filled states Possible k values Fermi surface in 2D

20 Fermi Distribution At finite temperature, electrons are not all in the lowest energy states Applying the fundamental law of statistics to this case (occupation of any state and spin only can be 0 or 1) leads to the Fermi Distribution giving the probability that an orbital of energy E is occupied (Kittel appendix) f(e) = 1/[exp((E-µ)/k B T) + 1] µ f(e) 1 Chemical potential for electrons = Fermi energy at T=0 D(E) 1/2 k B T E µ is temperature dependent

21 Ex. How does the Fermi distribution f(e) = 1/[exp((E-µ)/k B T) + 1] compare with the Planck distribution for phonons? n(e) = 1 / [ exp ( E / k B T) - 1 ] Sketch them as a function of energy for different temperatures.

22 Typical values for electrons? Here we count only valence electrons (see Kittel table) Element N elec /atom E F T F = E F /k B Li ev 5.5 x10 4 K Na eV 3.75 x10 4 K Al ev 13.5 x10 4 K For typical metals the Fermi energy temperature is much greater than ordinary temperatures transition from f(e)=1 to f(e)=0 is sharp at room temperature

23 Heat Capacity for Electrons Just as for phonons the definition of heat capacity is C = du/dt where U = total internal energy When heated from T=0 only electrons within an energy range k B T of the Fermi energy can be excited thermally For T << T F = E F /k B roughly U ~ U 0 + N elec (T/ T F ) k B T so that C = du/dt ~ N elec k B (T/ T F ) f(e) 1 1/2 µ k B T Chemical potential for electrons D(E) E

24 Heat Capacity for Electrons More precisely, the change in energy when heated from 0 to T is U = 0 de E D(E) f(e) - 0 E F de E D(E) Using the fact that T << T F : C = du/dt = 0 de (E - EF ) D(E) (df(e)/dt) D(E F ) 0 de (E - EF ) (df(e)/dt) The integral can be done almost exactly (exact in the low T limit) to give C = (π 2 /3) D(E F ) k B2 T (valid for any metal) (π 2 /2) (N elec /E F ) k B2 T (for the electron gas) (using D(E F ) = 3 N elec /2E F ) Key result: C ~ T - agrees with experiment!

25 Heat capacity Comparison of electrons in a metal with phonons Heat Capacity C T 3 Electrons dominate at low T in a metal T Phonons approach classical limit C ~ 3 N atom k B Electrons have C ~ N elec k B (T/T F ) T Phonons dominate at high T because of reduction factor (T/T F )

26 Heat capacity Experimental results for metals C/T = γ + A T 2 +. Find the ratio γ / γ free, γ free = (π 2 /2) (N elec /E F ) k B2 is the free electron gas result. Equivalently since E F 1/m, we can consider the ratio γ / γ free = m free /m th *, where m th * is an thermal effective mass for electrons in the metal Metal m th */ m free Li 2.18 Na 1.26 K 1.25 Al 1.48 Cu 1.38 m th * close to m(free) is the good, simple metals!

27 Electrical Conductivity & Ohm s Law Consider electrons in an external field E. They experience a force F = -ee Now F = dp/dt = h dk/dt, since p = h k Thus in the presence of an electric field all the electrons accelerate and the k points shift, i.e., the entire Fermi surface shifts E Equilibrium - no field With applied field

28 Electrical Conductivity & Ohm s Law What limits the acceleration of the electrons? Scattering increases as the electrons deviate more from equilibrium After field is applied a new equilibrium results as a balance of acceleration by field and scattering E Equilibrium - no field With applied field

29 Electrical Conductivity and Resistivity The conductivity σ is defined by j = σ E, where j = current density How to find σ? From before F = dp/dt = m dv/dt = h dk/dt Equilibrium is established when the rate that k increases due to E equals the rate of decrease due to scattering, then dk/dt = 0 If we define a scattering time τ and scattering rate1/τ h ( dk/dt + k /τ ) = F= q E (q = charge) Now j = n q v (where n = density) so that j = n q (h k/m) = (n q 2 /m) τ E σ = (n q 2 /m) τ Note: sign of charge Resistance: ρ = 1/ σ m/(n q 2 does not matter τ)

30 Scattering mechanisms Impurities - wrong atoms, missing atoms, extra atoms,. Proportional to concentration Lattice vibrations - atoms out of their ideal places Proportional to mean square displacement (Really these conclusions depend upon ideas from the next section that there is no scattering in a perfect crystal.)

31 Electrical Resistivity Resistivity ρ is due to scattering: Scattering rate inversely proportional to scattering time τ ρ scattering rate 1/τ Matthiesson s rule - scattering rates add ρ = ρ vibration + ρ impurity 1/τ vibration + 1/τ impurity Temperature dependent <u 2 > Temperature independent - sample dependent

32 Electrical Resistivity Consider relative resistance R(T)/R(T=300K) Typical behavior (here for samples of potassium) Relative resistance Increase as T 2 Inpurity scattering dominates at low T in a metal (Sample dependent) Phonons dominate at high T because mean square displacements <u 2 > T Leads to R T (Sample independent) T

33 Interpretation of Ohm s law Electrons act like a gas A electron is a particle - like a molecule. Electrons come to equilibrium by scattering like molecules (electron scattering is due to defects, phonons, and electron-electron scattering). Electrical conductivity occurs because the electrons are charged, and it shows the electrons move and equilibrate What is different from usual molecules? Electrons obey the exclusion principle. This limits the allowed scattering which means that electrons act like a weakly interacting gas.

34 Hall Effect I Electrons moving in an electric and a perpendicular magnetic field Now we must carefully specify the vector force F = q( E + (1/c) v x B ) (note: c 1 for SI units) (q = -e for electrons) B Vector directions shown for positive q F E v F B E

35 Hall Effect II Relevant situation: current j = σ E = nqv flowing along a long sample due to the field E But NO current flowing in the perpendicular direction This means there must be a Hall field E Hall in the perpendicular direction so the net force F = 0 F = q( E Hall + (1/c) v x B ) = 0 B v j F j E Hall E y z x

36 Hall Effect III Since F = q( E Hall + (1/c) v x B ) = 0 and v = j/nq then defining v = (v) x, E Hall = (E Hall ) y, B = (B ) z, E Hall = - (1/c) (j/nq) (- B ) and the Hall coefficient is R Hall = E Hall / j B = 1/(nqc) or R Hall = 1/(nq) in SI B Sign from cross product F v j E Hall E

37 Hall Effect IV Finally, define the Hall resistance as ρ Hall = R Hall B = E Hall / j Each of these quantities can be measured directly which has the same units as ordinary resistivity R Hall = E Hall / j B = 1/(nq) Note: R Hall determines sign of charge q Since magnitude of charge is known R Hall also determines density n The sign of charge in several metals (Mg, Al) is positive

38 Electrons act like gas - heat transport A electron is a particle that carries energy - just like a molecule. Electrical conductivity shows the electrons move, scatter, and equilibrate What is different from usual molecules? Electrons obey the exclusion principle. This limits scattering and helps them act like weakly interacting gas. hot cold Heat Flow

39 Heat Transport due to Electrons Definition (just as for phonons): j thermal = heat flow (energy per unit area per unit time ) = - K dt/dx If an electron moves from a region with local temperature T to one with local temperature T - T, it supplies excess energy c T, where c = heat capacity per electron. (Note T can be positive or negative). On average : T = (dt/dx) v x τ, where τ = mean time between collisions Then j thermal = - n v x c v x τ dt/dx = - n c v x2 τ dt/dx Density Flux

40 Electron Heat Transport - continued Just as for phonons: Averaging over directions gives ( v x 2 ) average = (1/3) v 2 and j = - (1/3) n c v 2 τ dt/dx Finally we can define the mean free path L = v τ and C = nc = total heat capacity, Then j = - (1/3) C v L dt/dx and K = (1/3) C v L = (1/3) C v 2 τ = thermal conductivity (just like an ordinary gas!)

41 Electron Heat Transport - continued What is the appropriate v? The velocity at the Fermi surface = v F What is the appropriate τ? Same as for conductivity (almost). Results using our previous expressions for C: K = (π 2 /3) (n/m) τ k B2 T Relation of K and σ -- From our expressions: K / σ = (π 2 /3) (k B /e) 2 T This justifies the Weidemann-Franz Law that K / σ T

42 Electron Heat Transport - continued K σt Recall σ constant as T 0, σ 1/T as T large Thermal conductivity K W/cm K 50 0 Low T -- K increases as heat capacity increases (v and L are ~ constant) T Approaches high T limit - K constant

43 Electron Heat Transport - continued Comparison to Phonons Electrons dominate in good metal crystals Comparable in poor metals like alloys Phonons dominate in non-metals

44 Summary Electrical Conductivity - Ohm s Law σ = (n q 2 /m) τ ρ = 1/σ Hall Effect ρ Hall = R Hall B = E Hall / j ρ and ρ Hall determine n and the charge of the carriers Thermal Conductivity K = (π 2 /3) (n/m) τ k B2 T Weidemann-Franz Law: K / σ = (π 2 /3) (k B /e) 2 T Metallic Binding Kinetic repulsion Coulomb attraction to nuclei (not included in gas model - must be added)

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