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Holes=positrons in the Dirac Sea?

  1. Mar 12, 2013 #1


    Staff: Mentor

    Professor Susskind describes the Dirac Sea. He says remove a negative energy electron, and replace it with a positive energy electron and a hole. In other words an electron-positron pair.

    I'm having trouble equating holes with positrons because positrons have mass but holes don't.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Holes also have a mass as moving a whole from A to B is equivalent to moving an electron from B to A.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  4. Mar 13, 2013 #3
    I think you are completely right, holes do not have mass, so e.g. in electric field in dirac sea picture the positron-electric field interaction amounts to the-remaining-negative-energy-eletrons(after removing one) -- electric field interaction, and precisely this collective interaction would give rise to a "mass" for the hole.

    Probably it would be very tough to directly compute it, but instead one can utilize the symmetries of dirac equation, so we can solve it for electron and then act with appropriate operations on the obtained wave function and get the answer for the hole.
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