I ran into some questions while studying physical electronics.
- My textbook/lecture note says "An electric field applied to a semiconductor will produce a force on electrons and holes so that they will experience a net acceleration and net movement (if there are available energy states in the conduction/valence band)" In Fig. 1 shown below, does the bold part mean that the green electron can be accelerated (and gain momentum) only after the red electron accelerates and leave an available state? So, since energy states are discrete within bands (although the gaps are so small that the states are almost continuous), does the bold phrase mean that there's a tiny time difference between the acceleration of different electrons?
- As shown in Fig. 2 below, every k value is mapped to an energy level. However, since Kronig-Penney model deals with a single electron in a periodic potential, it seems like discrete k values should be allowed for such single electron. How is a continuous range of k values allowed?
When calculating the Density of States, my textbook considers an electron confined in a 3D infinite potential well and uses its wave function to derive the k values, which turn out to be quantized as k = nπ/a. However, in a real crystal lattice, unlike the 1-electron assumption used in the calculation of DOS, multiple electrons interfere so energy level splitting occurs. Hence, shouldn't there be more k values (for example k = π/a + 0.0001) than k = nπ/a, which is the set of quantized k values assuming a single electron confined in 3D infinite potential well? Why is k = nπ/a used in the calculation of DOS?
Kronig-Penney model uses periodic potential model, which is more similar to the actual potential distribution in a lattice than a simple infinite potential well. Why is periodic potential not used in the calculation of DOS even though periodic potential better approximates a real crystal lattice than a 3D infinite potential well?