You are on page 1of 4

Crystal momentum

In solid-state physics crystal momentum or quasimomentum[1] is a momentum-like vector associated with electrons in
a crystal lattice. It is defined by the associated wave vectors of this lattice, according to

(where is the reduced Planck's constant).[2]:139 Frequently, crystal momentum is conserved like mechanical momentum,
making it useful to physicists and materials scientists as an analytical tool.

Contents
Lattice symmetry origins
Physical significance
Relation to velocity
Response to electric and magnetic fields
Applications
ARPES
References

Lattice symmetry origins
A common method of modeling crystal structure and behavior is to view electrons as quantum mechanical particles
traveling through a fixed infinite periodic potential such that

where is an arbitrary lattice vector. Such a model is sensible because (a) crystal ions that actually form the lattice
structure are typically on the order of tens of thousands of times more massive than electrons,[3] making it safe to replace
them with a fixed potential structure, and (b) the macroscopic dimensions of a crystal are typically far greater than a single
lattice spacing, making edge effects negligible. A consequence of this potential energy function is that it is possible to shift
the initial position of an electron by any lattice vector without changing any aspect of the problem, thereby defining a
discrete symmetry. (Speaking more technically, an infinite periodic potential implies that the lattice translation operator
commutes with the Hamiltonian, assuming a simple kinetic-plus-potential form.[2]:134)

These conditions imply Bloch's theorem, which states in terms of equations that

,

or in terms of words that an electron in a lattice, which can be modeled as a single particle wave function , finds its
stationary state solutions in the form of a plane wave multiplied by a periodic function . The theorem arises as a direct
consequence of the aforementioned fact that the lattice symmetry translation operator commutes with the system's
Hamiltonian.[2]:261–266[4]

This modulation contributes to the kinetic energy of the particle (whereas the modulation is entirely responsible for the kinetic energy of a free particle). Relation to velocity Crystal momentum corresponds to the physically measurable concept of velocity according to[2]:141 This is the same formula as the group velocity of a wave. gives the state's periodicity. and random thermal vibrations of the atoms in the crystal (phonons). but changes as the wave propagates. For example. the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Crystal momentum is then conventionally defined by multiplying this wave vector by Planck's constant: While this is in fact identical to the definition one might give for regular momentum (for example.One of the notable aspects of Bloch's theorem is that it shows directly that steady state solutions may be identified with a wave vector . an electron in a crystal cannot have both an which causes the group velocity exactly-defined k and an exact position in the crystal. More specifically. i. In regions where the band is approximately parabolic the crystal momentum is equal to the momentum of a free particle with momentum if we assign the particle an effective mass that's related to the curvature of the parabola. however. and thus its associated conservation law cannot be derived using Noether's theorem. and centered on a different. i. there are important theoretical differences.[2]:218 This is a consequence of the fact that the lattice symmetry is discrete as opposed to continuous. This image is a 1- certain position (with slight uncertainty). Physical significance The phase modulation of the Bloch state is the same as that of a free particle with momentum . The center position of this wave packet dimensional real wave.[2]:216 Response to electric and magnetic fields . These collisions. but also with any other wave vector k' such that where is an arbitrary reciprocal lattice vector. an electron can be described not only by the wave vector . crystal momentum is only conserved to within a lattice vector. random direction. while regular momentum is completely conserved. which is not the same as that of the lattice. form a wave and phase velocity to be packet centered on momentum k (with slight uncertainty). It can. moving through the crystal at the velocity v given electron wave packets are 3- dimensional complex waves. an electron moves in this way—traveling in a certain direction at a certain speed—for only a short period of time.. In a real crystal. by treating the effects of the translation operator by the effects of a particle in free space[5]). the crystal surface. by the formula above. due to A wave packet with dispersion. before colliding with an imperfection in the crystal that causes it to move in a different.e.e. are most commonly caused by crystallographic defects. meaning that this quantum number remains a constant of motion. called electron scattering.

473D)..harvard.. Barry N.L..7345 G).. Zhi-Xun Shen (2003). Peter J. 5. Crystal momentum also earns its chance to shine in these types of calculations. an electron's crystal momentum inside the crystal becomes its true momentum after it leaves. Damascelli. p.nist. 42 (12): 7345–7349. one is allowed to conflate the two concepts of crystal and true momentum and thereby gain direct knowledge of a crystal's band structure. irradiating light on a crystal sample results in the ejection of an electron away from the crystal.. ISBN 0-03-083993-9. in order to calculate an electron's trajectory of motion using the above equations.berkeley.42. Consequently.42. 3. and the true momentum may be subsequently inferred from the equation by measuring the angle and kinetic energy at which the electron exits the crystal ( is a single electron's mass).7345 (https://doi. Interestingly. Modern Quantum Mechanics.75. Reviews of Modern Physics. Applications ARPES In angle-resolved photo-emission spectroscopy (ARPES)..473D (http://adsabs.1103%2FPhysRevB. Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning. the only directions in which useful ARPES data can be gleaned are directions parallel to the crystal surface. 75 (2): 473. Taylor (2004).edu/abs/1990PhRvB.42. J.75.[6] References 1. 2. Mohr. ISBN 0-201-53929-2. Robert Littlejohn (2012). Thellung A.harvard. "Angle-resolved photoemission studies of the cuprate superconductors". crystal momentum in this direction is not conserved.. Zahid Hussain. (October 1990). David Mermin (1976).org/10.7345G (http://adsabs.7345)..edu/ classes/221/1112/221. arXiv:cond-mat/0208504 (https://arxiv. while attempting the calculation from a set of equations of motion based on true momentum would require taking into account individual Coulomb and Lorentz forces of every single lattice ion in addition to the external field. for these are precisely the equations that a free space electron obeys in the absence of any crystal structure.html). "Physics 221a class notes 4: Spatial Degrees of Freedom" (http://bohr. 4. "The 2002 CODATA Recommended Values of the Fundamental Physical Constants" (http://physics. That is to say. Addison-Wesley. Bibcode:1990PhRvB. Sakurai (1994). Bibcode:2003RvMP..org/abs/cond-mat/0 208504)  .1103/PhysRevB.gov/cuu/constants). Physical Review B. 139.Crystal momentum also plays a seminal role in the Semiclassical model of electron dynamics. one need only consider external fields. . J.edu/abs/2003RvMP.physics.42. where it obeys the equations of motion (in cgs units):[2]:218 Here perhaps the analogy between crystal momentum and true momentum is at its most powerful. doi:10. "Quasimomentum in the theory of elasticity and its conversion". 6. because crystal symmetry in the direction normal to the crystal surface is lost at the crystal boundary. Throughout the course of the interaction. Gurevich V. Solid State Physics. Andrea. for. Neil Ashcroft.

additional terms may apply.75. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.473 (https://doi. a non-profit organization. Retrieved from "https://en.1103%2FRevModPhys. you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Inc.1103/RevModPhys.org/10.473). Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation.wikipedia.org/w/index. By using this site. at 19:16. doi:10. .75..php?title=Crystal_momentum&oldid=801613432" This page was last edited on 20 September 2017.