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Quick question on band theory

  1. Apr 21, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone, I have finished high school not long ago, and havent start my uni. So I take this time to read some physics. I have no one teachs me, the only book I have is 'Giancoli's PHYSICS'. Its a good book (discriptive but not mathematical, which suits me as I havent done much sophisticate math).

    Here is my question, are energy bands for every atoms in a solid (every single atom have energy band). Or the whole solid posses energy band (with each atom still have discrete energy level)? Or should I say the solid posses energy band with atom indistinguishable?

    I have searched for a while, but cannot have a clear answer

    Thank you for any help
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2012 #2


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    Energy bands are a property of the whole solid object. While the individual states within these bands can be local (valence band), the "band" comes from the fact that you have a large amount of atoms in the material.
  4. Apr 22, 2012 #3
    Yeah, energy bands are a property of the solid. I've found images like this one helpful:


    When you bring together a bunch of atoms to form a material, you suddenly have a bunch of similar energy levels from different atoms all overlapping. The energy levels don't like to sit directly on top of each other, so they kind of shift around, resulting in a bunch of very closely spaced energy levels, or bands.
  5. Apr 22, 2012 #4
    Thank you very much. I think I may get it.
  6. Apr 22, 2012 #5


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    These questions are answered in detail by studying Condensed Matter (Physics of the Solid State). And in particular, the Band Theory of Solids.

  7. Apr 24, 2012 #6
  8. Apr 24, 2012 #7
    Bands are properties of the whole solid - in principle.

    There can be localized electrons "belonging" to a single atom even in a solid. In general, these are the core level electrons that are buried deep inside the atom so that their wave functions don't overlap much with the neighbors. For example the Uranium or Lead 1s electrons in a lead or uranium compound or alloy will remain very localized.

    As a rule of thumb, when you look at the "spaghetti diagram" of energy vs. wave vector of the bands, the localized bands will be flat, and the delocalized (with contributions from many atoms) will have a strong dispersion (energy varies a lot).
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