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What the heck is a Potential Well?

  1. Oct 28, 2007 #1
    Hi, I'm reading my semiconductors book and I have NO idea about what this is. I don't really understand what a potential well is. They say that it can form new devices, but never says how.

    Wikipedia isn't helping either. Anyone care to jump in?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2007 #2

    ZapperZ

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    Your semiconductor book doesn't require you to know a bit of quantum physics before reading it?

    Zz.
     
  4. Oct 28, 2007 #3
    Ok If i'm reading this right, a potential well is when either the conduction or valence band has a spike, where in this spike, it can trap charge careers?

    and Zapper, I was looking at your blog, specifically at your blogpost "The Black Hole" where you post a video of you being on comedy central. Congrats. Which one is you?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2007
  5. Oct 28, 2007 #4

    ZapperZ

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    I can't say anything about what you are reading. However, a "potential well" is any "depression" in the profile of the potential energy. For example, a harmonic oscillator has a potential well described by [itex]V(x) = -kx^2[/itex]. You can also have a square potential well, which is what most students in quantum mechanics would encounter, etc.. etc. You can sort of think of it as a "valley", where particles not having enough energy will usually be confined within that well.

    The ugly one! :)

    Zz.
     
  6. Oct 28, 2007 #5
    I'm guessing you're the guy in the blue shirt with glasses, cause I think thats the only time when the video shows a clip of a guy for 1.5 sec. Am I right :) ?
     
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