Why do we say that there are different kinds of electrons when discussing different situations in physics? For instance the Weyl electron, Dirac electron etc. From my exceedingly basic knowledge isn't it a basic result of quantum mechanics that particles are indistinguishable? In solid state physics lecture courses I have had, we have always just said "electron" when talking about semiconductors and metals etc.


2 Answers 2


They are all identical electrons. Its just that for the purpose of the paper or whatever they are behaving according to the rules of Dirac's equation, etc, because of the circumstances the electron is in. 'Free electron' means an electron flying about on its own, while a bound electron is in an atom and a Dirac electron is one that needs to be modelled using Dirac's equation: http://spinograph.org/blog/what-heck-dirac-electron

  • $\begingroup$ Well that suddenly makes a lot more sense! $\endgroup$
    – RedPen
    Aug 31, 2015 at 14:53

You are referring to different models, not different electrons. Like saying Newton's gravity and Einstein's gravity - it doesn't mean that there's more than one type of gravity in the nature.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.