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Conductor and

Iwan Cony S.
Department of Engineering Physics, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember
5.1 Current and Current Density
5.2 Continuity of Current
5.3 Energy Band Structure for Three Material Type
5.4 Conductor Properties and Boundary Conditions
5.5 The Method of Images
5.6 The Nature of Dielectric Materials
5.7 Boundary Conditions for Perfect Dielectric Materials

q Students are able to calculate the main parameter in conductor,

dielectric, and capacitor
5.1 Current and Current Density
Definition of Current
Electric charges in motion constitute a current (Ampere)

Current is thus defined as the motion of positive charges, even though

conduction in metals takes place through the motion of electrons, as we
will see shortly.
Definition of Current Density
Current density, J, measured in Amps/m2 , yields current in Amps when it is
integrated over a cross-sectional area. The assumption would be that the direction
of J is normal to the surface, and so we would write:

Then, the current through a large surface

is found through the flux integral:
Definition of Current Density

Consider a charge DQ, occupying volume Dv, moving in the positive x direction at velocity vx
In terms of the volume charge density, we may write:

Volume Charge Density

Suppose that in time Dt, the charge moves through a distance Dx = DL = vx Dt
The motion of the charge represents a current given by:

Definition of Current Density

We now have

So that in general:
5.2 Continuity of Current
The principle of conservation of charge states simply that charges can be neither
created nor destroyed


The Rate of Decrease

outward flow of positive charge must be balanced by a decrease

of positive charge (or perhaps an increase of negative charge)
within the closed surface.
We now apply the divergence theorem:


so that

The integrands of the last expression

must be equal, leading to the
Equation of Continuity
5.3 Energy Band Structure in Three Material Types

a) Conductors exhibit no energy gap between valence and conduction band, so electrons move freely
b) Insulators show large energy gaps, requiring large amounts of energy to lift electrons into the
conduction band
c) Semiconductors have a relatively small energy gap, so modest amounts of energy (applied through
heat, light, or an electric field) may lift electrons from valence to conduction bands.
Electron Flow in Conductor
Free electrons move under the influence of an electric field. The applied force on an electron
of charge Q = -e will be

When forced, the electron accelerates to an equilibrium velocity, known as the drift velocity:

where µe is the electron mobility, expressed in units of m2/V-s. The drift velocity is used to find the
current density through:
The expression:

from which we identify the conductivity

for the case of electron flow : is Ohm’s Law in point form
Electron Hole

In a semiconductor, we have hole current as well, and

Consider the cylindrical conductor shown here, with voltage V applied across the ends. Current flows
down the length, and is assumed to be uniformly distributed over the cross-section, S.
First, we can write the voltage and current in the cylinder in terms of field quantities:

Using Ohm’s Law:

We find the resistance of the cylinder:

Polarisation (P)
Polarisation P = dipole moment p per unit volume Cm/m3 = Cm-2

p E

Mesoscopic averaging: P is a constant vector field for a uniformly

polarised medium


Macroscopic charges sp in a uniformly polarised medium

sp = ___? dS

- P + E
Relative Permittivity and Susceptibility
EMac = E – P/ eo = (splates – P)/ eo in magnitude

eo E = eo EMac + P P = eo cE EMac

eo E = eo EMac + eo cE EMac = eo (1 + cE)EMac = eoeEMac

EMac = E /e
E = e EMac

Dielectric constant (relative permittivity) e = 1 + cE

Typical values: silicon 11.8, diamond 5.6, vacuum 1

Dielectric susceptibilty cE
Non-uniform polarisation
Uniform polarisation surface charges only

E -
P +

Non-uniform L polarisation bulk charges also

+ - + -

Displacements of positive charges Accumulated charges

Electric displacement D
What happens when a charge is added to a neutral dielectric ?

Added (free) charge

Polarisation (bound) charge

response of dielectric to added charge

Two types of charge:

Those due to polarisation (bound charges) ρb = ρpol bulk + ρpol surface
Those due to extra charges (free charges) ρf
(charge injection by electrode, etc)
Total charge ρ t = ρ f + ρb
Electric displacement D
ρt 1 1
Gauss’s Law Ñ.E = = (ρf + ρb ) = (ρf - Ñ.P)
eo eo eo
ρ f = e oÑ.E + Ñ.P = Ñ.(e oE + P ) = Ñ.D

D = e oE + P = e oE + c Ee oE = e o (1+ c E )E = e oe rE

Displacement: a vector whose div equals free charge density

Units: C·m-2 (same as P)
D relates E and P
D = eoE + P is a constitutive relation
Can solve for D field and implicitly include E and P fields
5.4 Conductor Properties and Boundary Conditions
Consider a conductor, on
which excess charge has been placed

+ + + + ++
E + Electric field at the surface
+ +
+ solid conductor + rs points in the normal direction
E = 0 inside +
+ +
+ + + + ++

1. Charge can exist only on the surface as a surface charge density, rs -- not in the interior.
2. Electric field cannot exist in the interior, nor can it possess a tangential component at the surface
(as will be shown next slide).
3. It follows from condition 2 that the surface of a conductor is an equipotential.
Tangential Electric Field Boundary Condition

Over the rectangular integration path, we use or

To find:

These become negligible as Dh approaches zero.

n Therefore

More formally:
Boundary Condition for Normal Component of D (Electric Flux Density (C/m2))
Gauss’ Law is applied to the cylindrical surface shown below:
Dh approaches zero.

No charge inside
This reduces to: as Dh approaches zero


More formally:
Conductor Characteristic

Tangential E is zero
At the surface:
Normal D is equal to the surface charge density
Insulators vs metals
No E field
E field on
Localised wave functions

Delocalised wave functions
5.5 Methods of Images
In the electric dipole, the surface along the plane of symmetry is an equipotential with V = 0.

The same is true if a grounded

conducting plane is located

So the boundary conditions

and charges are identical in
the upper half spaces of both
(not in the lower half).

In effect, the positive point charge images across the conducting plane, allowing the conductor to be
replaced by the image. The field and potential distribution in the upper half space is now found much
more easily!
Each charge in a given configuration will have its own image
5.6 The Nature of Dielectric Material

In dielectric, charges are held in position (bound), and ideally there are no free charges that can move
and form a current. Atoms and molecules may be polar (having separated positive and negative charges),
or may be polarized by the application of an electric field.

Consider such a polarized atom or molecule, which possesses a dipole moment, p, defined as the charge
magnitude present, Q, times the positive and negative charge separation, d. Dipole moment is a vector
that points from the negative to the positive charge.

d p = Qd ax
Model of Dielectric
A dielectric can be modeled as an ensemble of bound charges in free space, associated with
the atoms and molecules that make up the material. Some of these may have intrinsic dipole moments,
others not. In some materials (such as liquids), dipole moments are in random directions.
Polarization Field
The number of dipoles is
expressed as a density, n
dipoles per unit volume.

The Polarization Field of the

medium is defined as:

[dipole moment/vol]
Polarization Field (with Electric Field Applied)
Introducing an electric field may increase the charge separation in each dipole, and possibly re-
orient dipoles so that there is some aggregate alignment, as shown here. The effect is small, and is
greatly exaggerated here!

The effect is to increase P.

= np
if all dipoles are identical
Migration of Bound Charge

Consider an electric field applied at an angle q to a surface normal as shown. The resulting
separation of bound charges (or re-orientation) leads to positive bound charge crossing upward
through surface of area DS, while negative bound charge crosses downward through the surface.
Dipole centers (red dots) that lie within the range (1/2) d cosq above or below
the surface will transfer charge across the surface.

Migration of Bound Charge

Eappl _ + Eappl

Bound Charge Motion as a Polarization Flux

The total bound charge that crosses the surface is given by:



Polarization Flux Through a Closed Surface
The accumulation of positive bound charge within a closed surface means that the polarization
vector must be pointing inward. Therefore:

S +
- + P -
+ qb

Bound and Free Charge

Now consider the charge within the closed surface consisting of bound charges, qb , and free charges,
q. The total charge will be the sum of all bound and free charges. We write Gauss’ Law in terms of
the total charge, QT as:
q+ + + P
+ +
+ ++
where free charge
QT = Qb + Q

bound charge
Gauss Law for Free Charge

We now have:

where QT = Qb + Q

combining these, we write:

we thus identify: which we use in the familiar form

of Gauss’ Law:
Charge Densities

Taking the previous results and using the divergence theorem, we find the point form expressions:

Bound Charge:

Total Charge:

Free Charge:
Electric Susceptibility and the Dielectric Constant
A stronger electric field results in a larger polarization in the medium. In a linear medium, the relation
between P and E is linear, and is given by:

where ce is the electric susceptibility of the medium.

We may now write:

where the dielectric constant, or relative permittivity is defined as:

Leading to the overall permittivity of the medium: where

Isotropic vs. Anisotropic Media

In an isotropic medium, the dielectric constant is invariant with direction of the applied electric field.

This is not the case in an anisotropic medium (usually a crystal) in which the dielectric constant will vary
as the electric field is rotated in certain directions. In this case, the electric flux density vector components
must be evaluated separately through the dielectric tensor. The relation can be expressed in the form:
5.7 Boundary Condition for Perfect Dielectric
Simplest example – charged capacitor with dielectric

- +

E Emac=E/er E

- +

D = eoE D = eoE + P D = eoE

= eoerEmac
D is continuous boundaries (no free charges there)
E is discontinuous boundaries
5.7 Boundary Condition for Perfect Dielectric
Boundary Condition for Tangential Electric Field
We use the fact that E is conservative:

So therefore:

Region 1
e1 Leading to:

Region 2
e2 More formally:
Boundary Condition for Normal Electric Flux Density
We apply Gauss’ Law to the cylindrical volume shown here,
in which cylinder height is allowed to approach zero, and Region 1
there e1
is charge density rs on the surface:
Region 2

The electric flux enters and exits only through the bottom and top surfaces, respectively.

More formally:
From which:

and if the charge density is zero: