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6: The Electronic Structure of Materials

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    The particle in the box approximation completely ignores the internal structure of conductors. For example, it treats an insulator such as diamond the same as a conductor such as gold. Despite this it can be surprisingly useful, as we have seen in the discussion of ballistic transistors. We are concerned now with more accurate calculations of electronic structure. Unfortunately, exact solutions are not usually possible. Determining the energies and wavefunctions of multiple electrons in a solid is a classic "many body problem". For example, to solve for the electrons, we must know the exact position of each atom in the solid, and also calculate all interactions between multiple electrons. Nevertheless, there is much to be learnt from a first principles analysis of electronic structure. We‟ll begin at the bottom, with the hydrogen atom.

    This page titled 6: The Electronic Structure of Materials is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Marc Baldo (MIT OpenCourseWare) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.