I was trying to understand the electron-hole generation and recombination process in materials. However, most of the sources explain the phenomenon by using semiconductors through the energy-band diagrams.

I wonder whether the electron-hole pair recombination process is exactly same for semiconductors and insulators.


A typical insulator is a crystal with an electron energy band structure similar to a semiconductor, i.e., it has a valence band and a conduction band separated by a band gap $E_G$. The main difference to a semiconductor is the much larger band gap (usually $E_G\gt 3eV$), so that at room temperature there are so few electrons thermally excited into the conduction band from the valence band (where holes are left behind) that there is practically no conduction. Thus they are called insulators. Similar electron-hole pair generation and recombination processes do occur in insulators.

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  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, the line between 'insulator' and 'ultra wide band gap' material is pretty blurry these days... $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jan 22 '18 at 15:44

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