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Photoelectric efficiency and subatomic (ie electron or hole) momentum

  1. Aug 30, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    The efficiency of electron excitement by photons is described as being related to how much different orbitals share the same k-space or momentum space. Is this similar to orbital shape (eg spheres, dumbells, ec)?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I have seen the equation for electron or hole momentum in different materials, but is difficult to interpret. Any answers would be v. much appreciated.

    Many thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2009 #2
    So interactions between photons and electrons are just transfers of energy which conserve angular momentum. Have you studied any quantum mechanics?

    Conservation of angular momentum follows from the isotropic nature of space. Since the rotation of the particle does not change the angular momentum of the particle, angular momentum must be conserved.

    Orbital shape has to do with potentials (usually nuclear potentials, such as the spherical harmonics, coupled with electron-electron interaction correction terms). Conservation of angular momentum is important here as well.

    One qualitative way to think about this might be to consider how a photon tracing a particular trajectory might interact with a series of electrons in different atomic orbitals. Would some orbitals offer a higher probability of interacting with the photon due to their shape or energy? Why or why not?
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