Eberl, Karl Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung, Stuttgart, Germany.
Zundel, Markus K. Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung, Stuttgart, Germany.
- Discrete energy spectrum
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Bulk semiconductor materials such as silicon, gallium arsenide (GaAs), and indium phosphide (InP) have a continuum of electronic states within certain energy ranges, and there is a distinct gap in energy between filled valence-band states and empty conduction-band states. An electron in the conduction band can propagate from one end of the crystal to the other when an electric field is applied. It behaves like a free electron, which can occupy states with continuous values of momentum and energy. Making the semiconductor smaller in all directions such that the electrons are completely confined within a region about 10 nanometers in diameter changes the energy spectrum drastically. The charge carriers occupy discrete energy levels similar to electrons in an atom. Quantum dots are small islands of semiconductor material with only a few thousand atoms.
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