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Handout 3

Free Electron Gas in 2D and 1D

In this lecture you will learn:


Free electron gas in two dimensions and in one dimension
Density of States in k-space and in energy in lower dimensions

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Electron Gases in 2D
In several physical systems electron are confined to move in just 2
dimensions

STM
micrograph

Examples, discussed in detail later in the course, are shown below:


Semiconductor Quantum Wells:

GaAs

Graphene:

InGaAs
quantum well
(1-10 nm)

GaAs
Semiconductor quantum
wells can be composed of
pretty much any
semiconductor from the
groups II, III, IV, V, and VI of
the periodic table

TEM
micrograph

Graphene is a single atomic layer


of carbon atoms arranged in a
honeycomb lattice

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Electron Gases in 1D
In several physical systems electron are confined to move in just 1 dimension
Examples, discussed in detail later in the course, are shown below:

Semiconductor Quantum
Wires (or Nanowires):

Semiconductor Quantum
Point Contacts
(Electrostatic Gating):

GaAs

metal

Carbon Nanotubes
(Rolled Graphene
Sheets):

metal

InGaAs
Quantum well

InGaAs
Nanowire

GaAs

GaAs

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Electrons in 2D Metals: The Free Electron Model


The quantum state of an electron is described by the time-independent
Schrodinger equation:

2 2
r V r r E r
2m

Consider a large metal sheet of area A= Lx Ly :


Use the Sommerfeld model:
The electrons inside the sheet are confined in a
two-dimensional infinite potential well with zero
potential inside the sheet and infinite potential
outside the sheet

V r 0

V r

A Lx Ly

Ly

Lx

for r inside the sheet

for r outside the sheet

The electron states inside the sheet are given


by the Schrodinger equation

free electrons
(experience no
potential when inside
the sheet)

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Born Von Karman Periodic Boundary Conditions in 2D


Solve:

2 2
r E r
2m

Use periodic boundary conditions:

Solution is:

These imply that each


edge of the sheet is
folded and joined to
the opposite edge

x Lx , y , z x , y , z
x , y Ly , z x , y , z

1 i k . r
e

A Lx Ly
x

Ly
Lx

1 i k x x k y y
e
A

The boundary conditions dictate that the allowed values of kx , and ky are such
that:

e i k x Lx 1
e

i k y Ly

kx n

2
Lx

n = 0, 1, 2, 3,.

ky m

2
Ly

m = 0, 1, 2, 3,.

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Born Von Karman Periodic Boundary Conditions in 2D


Labeling Scheme:
All electron states and energies can be labeled by the corresponding k-vector

k r

1 i k . r
e
A

2k 2
Ek
2m

Normalization: The wavefunction is properly normalized:


Orthogonality:

2
2
d r k r 1

Wavefunctions of two different states are orthogonal:


2

d r

i k k ' . r
r k r d 2r e
k ' , k
A

k* '

Momentum Eigenstates:
Another advantage of using the plane-wave energy eigenstates (as opposed to the
sine energy eigenstates) is that the plane-wave states are also momentum
eigenstates

Momentum operator: p
p r r k r

Velocity:
Velocity of eigenstates is:

k 1
vk
k E k
m

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

States in 2D k-Space

2
Lx

ky

k-space Visualization:
The allowed quantum states states can be
visualized as a 2D grid of points in the entire
k-space

kx n

2
Lx

ky m

2
Ly

kx

2
Ly

n, m = 0, 1, 2, 3, .
Density of Grid Points in k-space:

Looking at the figure, in k-space there is only one grid point in every small
area of size:

Lx
There are

2 2

Ly

2 2

Very important
result

grid points per unit area of k-space

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Zero Temperature - I


Suppose we have N electrons in the sheet.
Then how do we start filling the allowed quantum states?

N
y

Suppose T~0K and we are interested in a filling scheme


that gives the lowest total energy.
The energy of a quantum state is:

2 k x2 k y2
2k 2

Ek
2m
2m

A Lx Ly
x

Ly
Lx

ky

Strategy:
Each grid-point can be occupied by two electrons
(spin up and spin down)
Start filling up the grid-points (with two electrons
each) in circular regions of increasing radii until
you have a total of N electrons

kx
kF

When we are done, all filled (i.e. occupied)


quantum states correspond to grid-points that are
inside a circular region of radius kF
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Zero Temperature - II


ky

Each grid-point can be occupied by two electrons (spin


up and spin down)

kF

All filled quantum states correspond to grid-points that


are inside a circular region of radius kF
Area of the circular region =

kx

kF2
A

Number of grid-points in the circular region =


Number of quantum states (including
spin) in the circular region =

Fermi circle

kF2

kF2

A 2
kF
2

But the above must equal the total number N of electrons inside the box:

A 2
kF
2

n electron density

kF 2 n 2

N kF2

A 2

Units of the electron


density n are #/cm2

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Zero Temperature - III


ky

All quantum states inside the Fermi circle are filled (i.e.
occupied by electrons)
All quantum states outside the Fermi circle are empty

kF

Fermi Momentum:
The largest momentum of the electrons is: kF
This is called the Fermi momentum
Fermi momentum can be found if one knows the electron
1
density:

kx
Fermi circle

kF 2 n 2

Fermi Energy:
2kF2
The largest energy of the electrons is:
This is called the Fermi energy EF :

Also:

EF

2 n
m

2m 2 2
kF
EF
2m
or

EF

Fermi Velocity:
kF
The largest velocity of the electrons is called the Fermi velocity vF : v F

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Non-Zero Temperature - I


ky
A

Recall that there are


space

2 2

So in area dk x dk y
grid points is:

dk x
dk y

grid points per unit area of k-

kx

of k-space the number of

dk x dk y

d 2k

The summation over all grid points in k-space can be replaced by an area integral

all k

Therefore:

d 2k

2 2

d 2k
N 2 f k 2 A
f k
2
2
all k

f k is the occupation probability of a quantum state


ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Non-Zero Temperature - II

The probability f k that the quantum state of wavevector k is occupied by an


electron is given by the Fermi-Dirac distribution function:

f k

E k Ef K T

1 e

Therefore:

N 2 A

d 2k

2 2

Where:

2 k x2 k y2
2k 2
Ek

2m
2m

d 2k
1

f k 2 A
2

E
k
2 1 e Ef KT

Density of States:
The k-space integral is cumbersome. We need to convert into a simpler form an
energy space integral using the following steps:

d 2k 2 k dk

and

2k 2
2k
dk
dE
m
2m

Therefore:

2 A

d 2k

dk

dE

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Non-Zero Temperature - III


N 2 A

Where:

d 2k

2 1 e E k Ef KT

g2D E

A dE g2D E
0

E E f KT
1 e

Density of states function is constant


(independent of energy) in 2D

g2D(E) has units: # / Joule-cm2

ky

The product g(E) dE represents the number of


quantum states available in the energy interval
between E and (E+dE) per cm2 of the metal
Suppose E corresponds to the inner circle
from the relation:

kx

2k 2
2m

And suppose (E+dE) corresponds to the outer


circle, then g2D(E) dE corresponds to twice the
number of the grid points between the two
circles
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Non-Zero Temperature - IV

N A dE g2D E
0

1
A dE g2D E f E Ef

E E f KT
1 e

Where: g2D E

f E Ef

The expression for N can be visualized as the


integration over the product of the two functions:
Check: Suppose T=0K:

Ef
Ef

f E Ef

T = 0K

Ef

EF

Compare with the previous result at T=0K:

N A dE g2D E f E Ef A dE g2D E

1
0

g2D E

Ef

Ef

At T=0K (and only at T=0K) the Fermi level


Ef is the same as the Fermi energy EF

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 2D at Non-Zero Temperature - V


For T 0K:
Since the carrier density is known, and does not change with temperature, the
Fermi level at temperature T is found from the expression

n dE g2D E
0

1 e E E f KT

Ef

1 e K T
K
T
log

In general, the Fermi level Ef is a function of temperature and decreases from EF as


the temperature increases. The exact relationship can be found by inverting the
above equation and recalling that:

EF

to get:

EF
Ef T KT loge KT 1

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Total Energy of the 2D Electron Gas


The total energy U of the electron gas can be written as:

d 2k
U 2 f k E k 2 A
f k Ek
2

all k

Convert the k-space integral to energy integral:U A dE g2D E f E Ef E


0

The energy density u is:


u

U
dE g2D E f E Ef E
A 0

Suppose T=0K:
EF

2 2

u dE g2D E E

Since:

We have: u

EF2

EF

1
n EF
2

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

2D Electron Gas in an Applied Electric Field - I


ky

f k

e
k t k
E

e
E

ky

E E x x

kx

kx

Electron distribution in k-space


when E-field is zero

Electron distribution is shifted in


k-space when E-field is not zero

Distribution function: f k

Distribution function: f k

e
E

Since the wavevector of each electron is shifted by the same amount in the
presence of the E-field, the net effect in k-space is that the entire electron
distribution is shifted as shown

Ly
Lx
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

2D Electron Gas in an Applied Electric Field - II

Current density (units: A/cm)

d 2k e
J 2 e
f k
Ev k

2 2

e
E

ky

Do a shift in the integration variable:

d k
2

e
f k v k

2
e

k
d 2k
J 2 e
f k
m
2 2

e 2

d 2k
J
f k E
2
2
m
2

2
ne

J
E E
m

J 2 e

kx

Electron distribution is shifted in


k-space when E-field is not zero

Distribution function: f k

e
E

Where:

n e 2
m

electron density = n (units: #/cm2)

Same as the Drude result - but


units are different. Units of are
Siemens in 2D
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Electrons in 1D Metals: The Free Electron Model


The quantum state of an electron is described by the time-independent
Schrodinger equation:

2 2
x V x x E x
2 m x 2

Consider a large metal wire of length L :


Use the Sommerfeld model:
The electrons inside the wire are confined in a
one-dimensional infinite potential well with zero
potential inside the wire and infinite potential
outside the wire

V x 0
V x

for x inside the wire


for x outside the wire
free electrons
(experience no
potential when inside
the wire)

The electron states inside the wire are given by


the Schrodinger equation
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

Born Von Karman Periodic Boundary Conditions in 1D

Solve:

2 2
x E x
2 m x 2

Use periodic boundary conditions:

x L, y , z x , y , z

Solution is:

L
These imply that each
facet of the sheet is
folded and joined to
the opposite facet

1 i k x x
e
L

The boundary conditions dictate that the allowed values of kx are such that:

e i k x L 1

kx n

2
L

n = 0, 1, 2, 3,.

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

10

States in 1D k-Space
k-space Visualization:
The allowed quantum states states can be
visualized as a 1D grid of points in the entire
k-space

kx n

2
L

2
L

kx

n = 0, 1, 2, 3, .
Density of Grid Points in k-space:
Looking at the figure, in k-space there is only one grid point in every small
length of size:

L
There are

L
2

Very important
result

grid points per unit length of k-space

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 1D at Zero Temperature - I


Each grid-point can be occupied by two electrons (spin
up and spin down)
All filled quantum states correspond to grid-points that
are within a distance kF from the origin
Length of the region = 2kF
Number of grid-points in the region =

kF

kF
kx

Fermi points

L
2k F
2

Number of quantum states (including


L
2
2k F
spin) in the region =

But the above must equal the total number N of electrons in the wire:

NL

2k F

n electron density

kF

N 2k F

Units of the electron


density n are #/cm

2
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

11

The Electron Gas in 1D at Zero Temperature - II


All quantum states between the Fermi points are filled (i.e.
occupied by electrons)
All quantum states outside the Fermi points are empty
Fermi Momentum:
The largest momentum of the electrons is: kF
This is called the Fermi momentum
Fermi momentum can be found if one knows the electron
density:

kF

kx

Fermi points

n
2

Fermi Energy:
2kF2
The largest energy of the electrons is:

2m 2 2
kF
EF
2m

This is called the Fermi energy EF :

EF

Also:

2 2 n2
8m

or

8m

EF

Fermi Velocity:
kF
The largest velocity of the electrons is called the Fermi velocity vF : v F

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 1D at Non-Zero Temperature - I


Recall that there are L
2
space

grid points per unit length of k-

dk x

So in length dk x of k-space the number of


grid points is:

kx

L
dk x
2
The summation over all grid points in k-space can be replaced by an integral

all k

dk x
2

Therefore:

dk x
f k x
2

N 2 f k x 2 L
all k

f k x is the occupation probability of a quantum state


ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

12

The Electron Gas in 1D at Non-Zero Temperature - II


The probability f k x that the quantum state of wavevector k x is occupied by an
electron is given by the Fermi-Dirac distribution function:

f k x

1
1 e E k x Ef K T

Therefore:

2k x2
Ek
2m

Where:

dk
dk x
1
x
f k x 2 L

E k x E f KT

2
2
1 e

N 2L
Density of States:

The k-space integral is cumbersome. We need to convert into a simpler form an


energy space integral using the following steps:

dk
dk x
2L2
2
0 2

and

2L

2k 2
2k
dE
dk
2m
m

Therefore:

dk x
2

2L

L dE
0

2m 1
E

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 1D at Non-Zero Temperature - III

dk x
1
1
L dE g1D E

E
k

E
KT
x
f
1 e E E f KT
2 1 e
0

N 2L
Where:

g1D E

2m 1
E

Density of states function in 1D

g1D(E) has units: # / Joule-cm


The product g(E) dE represents the number of
quantum states available in the energy interval
between E and (E+dE) per cm of the metal
Suppose E corresponds to the inner points
from the relation:
2 2

k
2m

kx

And suppose (E+dE) corresponds to the outer


points, then g1D(E) dE corresponds to twice the
number of the grid points between the points
(adding contributions from both sides)
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

13

The Electron Gas in 1D at Non-Zero Temperature - IV

N L dE g1D E
0

1
L dE g1D E f E Ef

E E f KT
1 e

g1D E

2m 1
Where: g1D E
E

f E Ef

The expression for N can be visualized as the


integration over the product of the two functions:
Check: Suppose T=0K:

Ef

N L dE g1D E f E Ef L dE g1D E

f E Ef
1

8m
L
Ef

T = 0K

Ef

Ef

8m

Ef

Compare with the previous result at T=0K:

8m

EF

At T=0K (and only at T=0K) the Fermi level


Ef is the same as the Fermi energy EF

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

The Electron Gas in 1D at Non-Zero Temperature - V


For T 0K:
Since the carrier density is known, and does not change with temperature, the
Fermi level at temperature T is found from the expression

n dE g1D E
0

E E f KT
1 e

In general, the Fermi level Ef is a function of temperature and decreases from EF as


the temperature increases.

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

14

Total Energy of the 1D Electron Gas


The total energy U of the electron gas can be written as:

dk x
f k x E k x
2

U 2 f k x E k x 2 L
all k

Convert the k-space integral to energy integral: U L dE g1D E f E Ef E


0

U
dE g1D E f E Ef E
L 0

The energy density u is:u


Suppose T=0K:
EF

u dE g1D E E
0

8m

Since: n

We have:

32
8m E F
3

EF

1
n EF
3

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

1D Electron Gas in an Applied Electric Field - I


f k x

k x t k x

e
Ex

e
E

E E x x

kx

kx

Electron distribution in k-space


when E-field is zero
Distribution function: f k x

Electron distribution is shifted in


k-space when E-field is not zero

Distribution function: f k x
Ex

Since the wavevector of each electron is shifted by the same amount in the
presence of the E-field, the net effect in k-space is that the entire electron
distribution is shifted as shown

L
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

15

1D Electron Gas in an Applied Electric Field - II


Current (units: A)

dk x
e

I 2 e
f kx
E x v k x

e
Ex

E E x x

Do a shift in the integration variable:

kx

dk x
e

f k x v k x
Ex

2
e

k x
Ex
dk

x f k
I 2 e
x
m
2

I 2 e

dk
e 2
x f k E
2
x x

m
2

ne
I
E E
m

Electron distribution is shifted in


k-space when E-field is not zero

Distribution function: f k x
Ex

Where:

n e 2
m

electron density = n (units: #/cm)

Same as the Drude result - but


units are different. Units of are
Siemens-cm in 1D
ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

ECE 407 Spring 2009 Farhan Rana Cornell University

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