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FERMI ENERGY

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KAMALJEETH INSTRUMENTATION & SERVICE UNIT

Experiment-133 S


FERMI ENERGY

Dr .D Sudhakar Rao and Ms Chaithra G M
Dept of Physics, St. Aloysius College, Mangalore-575 003. INDIA.
Email:sr23us@yahoo.com

Abstract

Fermi energy and Fermi temperature of copper, iron, gold and silver is determined by
studying resistance variations at different temperatures. The values obtained are
compared with the standard values.

Introduction

“Fermi level” is the term used to describe the top of the collection of electronic energy levels at
absolute zero temperature. This concept comes from Fermi – Dirac statistics. Electrons are
fermions and by the Paulis Exclusion Principle cannot exist in identical energy states. So at
absolute zero they pack into the lowest available energy states and build up a “Fermi sea” of
electron energy states. The Fermi level is the surface of that sea at absolute zero where no
electrons will have enough energy to rise above the surface. The concept of the Fermi energy is
important for the understanding of the electrical and thermal properties of the solids. Both
ordinary electrical and thermal processes involve energies of a small fraction of an electron volt.
But the Fermi energies of metals are of the order of few electron volts. This implies that the vast
majority of the electrons cannot receive energy for these processes because there are no available
energy states for them to go to within a fraction of an electron volt of their present energy. At
higher temperatures a certain fraction, characterized by the Fermi function, will exist above the
Fermi level. For a metal, the density of conduction electrons can be implied from the Fermi
energy. The Fermi energy also plays an important role in understanding the mystery of why
electrons do not contribute significantly to the specific heat of solids at ordinary temperatures.

Further, in metals, Fermi energy gives us information about the velocities of the electrons which
participate in ordinary electrical conduction. The Fermi velocity V
F
of these conduction electrons
can be calculated from the Fermi energy E
F
using the relation,

m
2E
V
F
F
= …1

Where m = 9.1 x 10
-31
kg is the mass of electron.
E
F
is Fermi Energy
V
F
is Fermi Velocity
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This speed is a part of the microscopic Ohm’s Law for electrical conduction. A Fermi gas is a
collection of non-interacting fermions. It is quantum mechanical version of ideal gas. Electrons
in metals and semiconductors can be approximately considered as Fermi gases. The energy
distribution of the fermions in a Fermi gas in thermal equilibrium is determined by their density,
the temperature and the set of available energy states using Fermi-Dirac statistics. It is possible
to define a Fermi temperature below which the gas can be considered degenerate. This
temperature depends on the mass of the fermions and the energy. For metals, the electron gas’s
Fermi temperature is generally many thousands of Kelvin, so they can be considered degenerate.
Fermi temperature T
F
can be obtained by the relation

E
F
= kT
F
…2

Where k = 1.38 x 10
-23
J K
-1
is Boltzmann constant.

Theory

The number of free electrons in metal per unit volume is given by,

M

n = …3

Where N = 6.023 x 10
26
per m
3
is Avogadro number
ρ = density of the metal
M = Mass number of the metal

The electrical conductivity of the metal,

Ra
L
σ = …4

Where L is the length of the metal wire
R is its resistance at a reference temperature
a is the area of cross-section of the wire.

The relaxation time is given by,

2
ne
σm
τ = …5

Where e = 1.602 x 10
-19
C is electron charge.

If V
F
is Fermi velocity, then mean free path of electrons,

λ
F
=V
F
τ …6
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Now Fermi energy,

2
2
2 2
F
∆T
∆R
x
(2m) L
πAr ne
E |
¹
|

\
|
(
(
¸
(

¸

= …7

Where the constant A = λ
F
x T
T is the reference temperature of the wire in Kelvin,
r is the radius of the wire
∆T
∆R
is the slope of the straight line obtained by plotting resistance of the
metal against absolute temperature of the metal.

Once the Fermi energy is found, Fermi temperature can be calculated using the equation-2.

Apparatus Used

DC regulated power supply, digital milli ammeter, Digital milli voltmeter (DMM), Heating
arrangements, Thermometer 0-160 degree, and Wires of copper, gold, silver and iron. The
complete experimental setup is shown in Figure-1




Figure-1, Fermi Energy Experimental Setup


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Experimental Procedure

1. About 3.6 meters length copper wire is taken and its radius is determined and cross sectional
area is calculated. Its mass number and density are noted from Clark’s table.

L
Copper
= 3.58m, Radius r = 0.26x10
-3
m
Cross sectional area = πr
2
= 0.212x10
-6
m
2

Density ρ = 8930 Kg m
-3

Mass number M = 63.54 gm

2. The wire is wound over an insulating tube (20-30mm dia) to form a coil. The coil is kept
inside a suitable test tube and in turn test tube is immersed in pre heated liquid paraffin as
shown in the experimental setup(do not pore any liquid inside the test tube). The two end of
the coiled wire is connected to a power supply through a milli ammeter. And milli voltmeter
is connected across the coil.

3. A thermometer is immersed in the beaker containing liquid paraffin and coil. When the
thermometer attains steady temperature the temperature is noted.

4. The power supply is switched on and voltage and currents are noted In Table-1. The liquid is
allowed to cool and temperature is noted down in regular intervals.

5. Trial is repeated taking reading in the interval of 5 degree and until the temperature reach 45
degree. At each temperature the voltages and currents measured are noted in Table-1.

6. A graph is drawn taking temperature in degree K along X-axis and resistance on Y axis as
shown in Figure-2. The slope of straight line is calculated.

Table-1
Temperature Voltage Current Resistance
ºC ºK (mV) (mA) (Ω)
87 360 19.9 39.1 0.510
82 355 19.6 39.1 0.503
77 350 19.3 39.1 0.496
72 345 19.1 39.1 0.490
70 343 19.0 39.2 0.484
65 338 18.9 39.3 0.480
60 333 18.5 39.1 0.473
57 330 18.3 39.1 0.468
52 325 18.1 39.1 0.462
47 320 17.8 39.1 0.455
23 300 16.6 39.5 0.420
Resistance variation with temperature
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Figure-2, Variation of resistance with temperature for copper wire

Slope of the straight line in Figure-2

3
10 x 42 . 1 =
∆T
∆R
ΩK
-1

7. Experiment is repeated for Iron, Silver and Gold wires

Calculations

At 318 degree K

Electron density n = /Kgmol 10 464 . 8
546 . 63
8930 10 023 . 6
M

28
26
x
x x
= =

Electrical conductivity σ = Ωm / 10 53 . 3
10 12 . 2 48 . 0
6 . 3
Ra
L
7
7
x
x x
= =



The Fermi velocity for copper V
F
= 1.57x10
6
m/sec

The relaxation time sec 10 483 . 1
) 10 602 . 1 ( 10 464 . 8
10 1 . 9 10 53 . 3
ne
σm
τ
14
2 19 28
31 7
2



= = = x
x x x
x x x


Mean free path λ
F
= V
F
τ = 1.57x10
6
x 1.483x10
-14
= 2.32x10
-8
m

Constant A = λ
F
T= 2.32x10
-8
x 318 = 7.4x10
-6


0.4
0.42
0.44
0.46
0.48
0.5
0.52
280 300 320 340 360 380
Temperature Degree K
R
e
s
i
s
t
a
n
c
e

(
O
h
m
s
)
FERMI ENERGY

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Fermi Energy

eV .89 6 =
J x10 10 . 1 =
) 10 x 42 . 1 ( x
10 x 1 . 9 x 2 6 . 3
) 10 x 26 . 0 ( 10 x 4 . 7 x 14 . 3 ) 10 x 602 . 1 ( 10 x 464 . 8
=
∆T
∆R
x
(2m) L
πAr ne
= E
18
2 3
2
31
2 3 6 2 19 28
2
2
2 2
F

Fermi Temperature

K 78.98x10
1.38x10
1.09x10
k
E
T
3
23
18
F
F
= = =




The various parameters connected with this experiment is tabulated in Table-2 for comparison


Table-2
Metal Z nx10
28
σx10
7
τx10
-14
λ
F
x10
-8
Ax10
-6
Slope X 10
-3
Iron 26 17 0.60 0.62 0.25 0.79 1.375
Copper 29 8.46 5.5 2.3 3.6 11.5 1.441
Silver 47 5.86 5.7 3.4 4.8 14.5 0.545
Gold 79 5.90 4.1 2.4 3.4 10.34 3.209
Comparison of various parameters of metals used in this experiment
Results

The results obtained are tabulated in Table-3

Metal Mass No
Z
Fermi Energy (eV) Fermi Temperature (T) x10
3
K
Expt Thet Expt Thet
Iron 26 11.8 11.1 13.69 12.89
Copper 29 6.8 7.0 7.9 8.13
Silver 47 5.23 5.49 6.07 6.37
Gold 79 5.57 5.53 6.47 6.42
Experimental Results

References

1. Eisburg, R and Resnik, R., Quantum physics of atoms, molecules, solids, Nuclei and
particles. 2
nd
Ed. Newyork: Willy,1985

Neil W. Asheroft and N. David Mermin, Solid State Physics