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If an electron is not a point particle how does current flow

  1. Mar 22, 2012 #1
    Gday All
    First time post here.
    I am trying to construct an animation of electron and hole flow through a conductor.
    I understand that the theory now is that electrons are not really like the old solar system model ,but more like energy cloud layers around an atom ,how would you go about visualizing the electron and hole flow through a conductor using the concepts of this theory .
    The old system I used was an electron jumping from atom to atom as the hole moved in the other direction.
    This does not seem to be quite right now in view of the better understanding we have of the inner workings of the Atom.
    Thank you all for your time and consideration
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2012 #2
    There is no absolute description of electrons in solids---it is just that some descriptions fit certain scenarios better.
    Demonstrating electron-hole driven conduction does not 'require' the cloud (wavefunction) description, even though the underlying mechanism is quantum. Conduction is a statistical phenomenon, where one talks in terms of population of charge carriers.
    SOME electrons in the solid have energies high enough for conduction. A conduction electron, being high in mobility, drifts under the applied potential (i.e., carries current), until it is absorbed by another atom similar to the one the electron got freed from (i.e., a hole). Each step in this process occurs with a probability so the picture of electrons jumping from site to site is statistically correct, and does not require a quantum description. However, (a) the conduction phenomenon does not occur only through contiguous sites, and (b) electron release and electron capture are independent events.
  4. Mar 22, 2012 #3
    I'll give you some ideas if you'll post your animation here!! ....Likely you can find animations that already exist via Google/Yahoo of 'current animation' or similar....I have not looked.

    Most important: Decide who will be your audience...that is, who are your 'customers'???

    I'd suggest you first decide what kind of material you are trying to animate.

    Some types are here:


    All "currents" are not quite the same: So choose from among electrons, holes, and ions, etc.

    You'll also want to decide what at temperatures you'll be modelling....solid,gas, plasma, superconductivity, etc

    For ion flow electrolytes...like in a car battery. [I don't know if there are any solid electrolytes...not in everday use that I am aware.]

    For semiconductors, which requires hole and electron concepts...try here for some information and illustrations:

  5. Mar 30, 2012 #4
    Sorry I have not been able to get back online sooner .
    Thank you all for your kind assistance .
    Best Regards
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