Fan, Hsu Y. Formerly, Department of Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
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The electronic energy band of a crystalline solid which is partially occupied by electrons. The electrons in this energy band can increase their energies by going to higher energy levels within the band when an electric field is applied to accelerate them or when the temperature of the crystal is raised. These electrons are called conduction electrons, as distinct from the electrons in filled energy bands which, as a whole, do not contribute to electrical and thermal conduction. In metallic conductors the conduction electrons correspond to the valence electrons (or a portion of the valence electrons) of the constituent atoms. In semiconductors and insulators at sufficiently low temperatures, the conduction band is empty of electrons. Conduction electrons come from thermal excitation of electrons from a lower energy band or from impurity atoms in the crystal. See also: Band theory of solids; Electric insulator; Electrical conductivity of metals; Semiconductor; Valence band
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