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# Handout 3

## 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

## 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

## The electron states inside the sheet are given

by the Schrodinger equation

free electrons
(experience no
potential when inside
the sheet)

Solve:

2 2
r E r
2m

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,.

## 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

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

## 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

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

## 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

ky
A

## Recall that there are

space

2 2

So in area dk x dk y
grid points is:

dk x
dk y

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 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

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

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

## 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

## 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

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

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

d 2k e
J 2 e
f k
Ev k

2 2

e
E

ky

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

## 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

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

## 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

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

Recall that there are L
2
space

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

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

## 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

8m

EF

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

Ef is the same as the Fermi energy EF

## 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.

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

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

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

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

## Same as the Drude result - but

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

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