February 10, 2010

Electron Wave Functions In Semiconductor

This video depicts electron wave functions, measured in a manganese-doped gallium arsenide semiconductor, based on their energy, illustrating an example of extended and localized electron states and the transition between them. The colors red, orange and yellow indicate areas on the surface of the semiconductor where electrons are most likely to be found at a given point in time, while blue and green indicate areas where electrons are unlikely to be found. At the beginning of the video, the electrons are extended across the surface of the semiconductor, as in a metal. At the brink of transition, which occurs when the energy level in the upper right hand corner is zero mV, the electrons are distributed in intricately shaped “fractal puddles.” After crossing this divide, the semiconductor becomes increasingly insulator-like and the electrons are clumped together in small regions, having been trapped, or localized, by the disorder in the material. (Video: Yazdani Lab/Princeton University)

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