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PHY402: Problem Set 4

To be discussed on Sept. 18, 2017

1. Poisson Distribution (Drude Model):

The basic assumption of the Drude model is that the probability of an electron undergoing a
collision in time interval dt is dt/ .
(a) Show that an electron picked at random at a given moment had no collision during the preceding
t seconds with probability et/ .
(b) Show that the probability that the time interval between successive collisions of an electron
falls in the range between t and t + dt is (dt/ )et/ .
(c) Show that at any moment the mean time back to the last collision averaged over all electrons
is .
(d) Show that the mean time between successive collisions of an electron is .

2. Joule Heating:
Consider a metal in a static uniform electric field E. An electron experiences a collision, and then,
after a time t, a second collision.
(a) Show that the average energy lost to the ions in the second of the two collisions separated by
a time t is (eEt)2 /2m. (The average is over all directions in which the electron emerged from the
first collision.)
(b) Show that the average energy loss to the ions per electron per collision is (eE )2 /m, and hence
that the average energy loss per unit volume per unit time is (ne2 /m)E 2 = E 2 . Deduce that
the power loss in a wire of length L and cross section A is I 2 R, where I is the current flowing and
R is the resistance of the wire.

3. Sommerfeld Coefficient:
Use Sommerfeld expansion to show that for metals the electronic contribution to specific heat at
low temperatures is given by C = T . Find the expression for the Sommerfeld constant .

4. Conductivity in Sommerfeld Model:

Show that the Drude formula for electrical conductivity ( = ne2 /m) is also valid in the Sommer-
feld model at T = 0.
[Hint: Find the effect of an external force F on the occupied electronic states, and then find the
resulting current density in the direction of the applied field ].