CONDUCTIVITY

 Conductivity
 Superconductivity
Electronic Properties
Robert M Rose, Lawrence A Shepart, John Wulff
Wiley Eastern Limited, New Delhi (1987)
Resistivity range in Ohm m  25 orders of magnitude
10
-9
10
-7
10
-5
10
-3
10
-1
10
-1
10
3
Ag
Cu Al
Au
Ni
Pb
Sb Bi
Graphite
Ge
(doped)
Ge Si
10
5
10
7
10
9
10
11
10
13
10
15
10
17
Window
glass
Ionic
conductiv
ity
Bakelite
Porcelain
Diamond
Rubber
Polyethyl
ene
Lucite
Mica
PVC
SiO
2

(pure)
Metallic materials
Insulators
Semi-conductors
A
L
R µ =
Classification
based on
Conductivity
Semi-metals
Semi-conductors
Metals
Insulators
Free Electron Theory
 Outermost electrons of the atoms take part in conduction
 These electrons are assumed to be free to move through the whole solid
 Free electron cloud / gas, Fermi gas
 Potential field due to ion-cores is assumed constant
¬ potential energy of electrons is not a function of the position
(constant negative potential)
 The kinetic energy of the electron is much lower than that of bound
electrons in an isolated atom
Wave particle duality of electrons
mv
h
= ì
 ì → de Broglie wavelength
 v → velocity of the electrons
 h → Planck’s constant
( )
m
v
x
v kg x
s J x
4
31
34
10 27 . 7
10 109 . 9
10 62 . 6
÷
÷
÷
= = ì
Wave number vector (k)
ì
t 2
= k

2
2
1
mv E =
Non relativistic
m
k h
E
2
2 2
8t
=
m
k h
E
2
2 2
8t
=
ì ↑ → k ↓ → E ↓
E




k →
Discrete energy levels
(Pauli’s exclusion principle)
If the length of the box is L
L n =
2
ì
n → integer (quantum number)
2
2 2
8mL
h n
E =
L
n
k
t
=
Number of electrons moving from left to right
equals the number in the opposite direction
Electron in an 1D box
L
Quantization of Energy
levels
( )
2 2 2
2
2
8
z y x
n n n
mL
h
E + + =
In 3D
 Each combination of the quantum numbers n
x
, n
y
, n
z
corresponds to
to a distinct quantum state
 Many such quantum states have the same energy and said to be degenerate
 The probability of finding an electron at any point in box is proportional
to the square of the amplitude ¬ there are peaks and valleys within L
 If the electron wave is considered as a travelling wave the amplitude will be
constant
Fermi level
 At zero K the highest filled energy level (E
F
) is called the Fermi level
 If E
F
is independent of temperature (valid for usual temperatures)
► Fermi level is that level which has 50% probability of occupation
by an electron
T > 0 K
(
¸
(

¸

÷
+
=
kT
E E
E P
F
exp 1
1
) (
P
(
E
)




E →
1
F
E
0K
0
Conduction by free electrons
 If there are empty energy states above the Fermi level then in the presence
of an electric field there is a redistribution of the electron occupation
of the energy levels
E




k → k →
| | | | + ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷
Field
E
F

E
F

Electric
Field
e E ma F

= =
Force experienced by an electron
 m → mass of an electron
 E → applied electric field
V
e
l
o
c
i
t
y




time →
v
d

Collisions
t
 In the presence of the field the electron velocity increases by an amount
(above its usual velocity) by an amount called the drift velocity
 The velocity is lost on collision with obstacles
e E
v
m F
d

=
|
.
|

\
|
=
t
 v
d
→ Drift velocity
 t → Average collision time
m
e E
v
d
t

=
The flux due to flow of electrons → Current density (J
e
)
m
E e n
v e n J
d e

t
2
= =
 n → number of free electrons
(E) gradient potential unit
(J Flux
) ( ty Conductivi
e
)
= o
E J
e
o =
m
e n t
o
2
=
(
¸
(

¸

(
¸
(

¸

=
(
¸
(

¸

m
V

m Ohm
1
m
Amp
2
IR V =
| | Amp
Ohm
V
=
(
¸
(

¸

(
¸
(

¸

=
(
¸
(

¸

2
1
m Ohm
V
m
Amp
2
~ Ohm’s law
Mean free path (MFP) (l) of an electron
 l = v
d
t
 The mean distance travelled by an electron between successive collisions
 For an ideal crystal with no imperfections (or impurities) the MFP
at 0 K is ·
 Ideal crystal ¬ there are no collisions and the conductivity is ·
 Scattering centres → MFP↓ , t↓ ¬ ↓o , ↑µ
Scattering centres
Sources of
Electron Scattering
Solute / impurity atoms
Defects
Thermal vibration → Phonons
Grain boundaries
Dislocations
Etc.
Thermal scattering
 At T > 0K → atomic vibration scatters electrons → Phonon scattering
 ¬ T ↑ → o ↓ → µ ↑
 Low T
 MFP · 1 / T
3

 t · 1 / T
3

 High T
 MFP · 1 / T
 t · 1 / T
Impurity scattering
 Resistivity of the alloy is higher than that of the pure metal at all T
 The increase in resistivity is · the amount of alloying element added !
R
e
s
i
s
t
i
v
i
t
y

(
µ
)

[
x

1
0
-
8

O
h
m

m
]




T (K) →
Cu-Ni alloy
100
200 300
1
2
3
4
5
Cu-2%Ni
Cu-3%Ni
→ 0 as T→ 0K
With low density of
imperfections
Pure Cu
Increased phonon scattering
Impurity scattering (µ
r
)
Mattheissen rule
µ = µ
T
+ µ
r
Net resistivity =
Thermal resistivity + Resistivity due to impurity scattering

Conductors
 Power transmission lines → low I
2
R loss → large cross sectional area
 Al used for long distance distribution lines
(Elastic Modulus
Al
increased by steel reinforcement)
 OFHC (Oxygen Free High Conductivity) Cu (more expensive) is used for
distribution lines and busbars.
► Fe, P, As in Cu degrade conductivity drastically
Electrical contacts
 Electrical contacts in switches, brushes and relays
 Properties:
► High electrical conductivity
► High thermal conductivity → heat dissipation
►High melting point → accidental overheating
► Good oxidation resistance
 Cu and Ag used
 Ag strengthened by dispersion strengthening by CdO
■ CdO
► Strengthens Ag
► Improves wear resistance
► If arcing occurs → decomposes (At MP of Ag) to
absorb the heat
Resistor
 Properties:
► Uniform resistivity → homogenous alloy
► Stable resistance → Avoid aging / stress relaxation / phase change
► Small T coefficient of resistance ( o
R
) → minimizes error in measurement
► Low thermoelectric potential wrt Cu
► Good corrosion resistance
 Manganin (87% Cu, 13% Mn, o
R
= 20 x 10
÷6
/ K) and
Constantan (60% Cu, 40% Ni) are good as resistor materials
[o
R
(Cu) = 4000 x 10
÷6
/ K]
 Low thermoelectric potential wrt to contact material (usually Cu) reduces
error due to temperature difference between junctions. For high
precision dissimilar junctions should be maintained at same
temperature
 Ballast resistors are used in maintaining constant current →
I ↑ → T ↑ → R ↑ ¬ I ↓
Requriement: high o
R
(71% Fe, 29% Ni → o
R
= 4500 x 10
÷6
/ K)
dT
dR
R
R
1
= o
Heating elements
 Properties:
► High melting point
► High resistivity
► Good oxidation resistance
► Good creep strength
► Resistance to thermal fatigue
 low elastic modulus
 low coefficient of thermal expansion
 ■ Upto 1300
o
C
Nichrome (80% Ni, 20% Cr), Kanthal (69% Fe, 23% Cr, 6% Al, 2% Co)
■ Upto 1700
o
C: SiC & MoSi
2

■ Upto 1800
o
C: Graphite
 Mo and Ta need protective atmosphere at high T
 W (MP = 3410
o
C) is used is used as filament in light bulbs → creep
resistance above 1500
o
C improved by dispersion hardening with ThO
2

 Resistance thermometers: ► High temperature coefficient of resistivity
► Pure Pt

SUPERCONDUCTIVITY
R
e
s
i
s
t
i
v
i
t
y

(
µ
)

[
x

1
0
-
1
1

O
h
m

m
]




T (K) →
10
20
5
10
Ag
Sn
R
e
s
i
s
t
i
v
i
t
y

(
µ
)

[
x

1
0
-
1
1

O
h
m

m
]




T (K) →
5
10
10
20
0
0 T
c

Superconducting transition temperature
Superconducting transition
?
Current carrying capacity
 The maximum current a superconductor can carry is limited by the
magnetic field that it produces at the surface of the superconductor
µ
0

H
c

[
W
b

/

m
2
]




T (K) → T
c

H
c
/ J
c

Normal
Superconducting
J
c

[
A
m
p

/

m
2
]




Meissner effect
 A superconductor is a perfect diamagnet (magnetic suceptibility _ = ÷1)
 Flux lines of the magnetic field are excluded out of the superconductor
 Meissner effect
Normal
Superconducting
Theory of low temperature superconductivity-
Bardeen-Cooper-Schreiffer (BCS) theory
 Three way interaction between an two electron and a phonon
 Phonon scattering due to lattice vibrations felt by one electron in the
Cooper pair is nullified by the other electron in the pair
¬ the electron pair moves through the lattice without
getting scattered by the lattice vibrations
 The force of attraction between the electrons in the Cooper pair is stronger
than the repulsive force between the electrons when T < T
c

Type I and Type II superconductors
÷
M




H → H
c

Normal
Superconducting
Type I
Type I (Ideal) superconductors
 Type I SC placed in a magnetic field totally repels the flux lines till the
magnetic field attains the critical value H
c

¹
´
¦
> ÷
< ÷ ÷
=
c
c
H H
H H H
M
0
÷
M




H → H
c

Normal
Type I
Type II (Hard) superconductors
 Type II SC has three regions
¦
¹
¦
´
¦
> ÷
e ÷ ÷ <
< ÷ ÷
=
c2
c2 c1
c1
H H 0
) H , (H H H
H H H
M
Vortex
Vortex
Region
Gradual penetration of the
magnetic flux lines
Super
conducting
H
c1
H
c2

 As type II SC can carry high current densities (J
c
) they are of great practical
importance
 The penetration characteristics of the magnetic flux lines
(between H
c1
and H
c2
) is a function of the microstructure of the
material  presence of pinning centres in the material
 Pinning centres:
 Cell walls of high dislocation density
(cold worked/recovery annealed)
 Grain boundaries
(Fine grained material)
 Precipitates
(Dispersion of very fine precipitates with interparticle spacing ~ 300 Å)
 J
c
↑ as H
c2


Nb – 40%Ti alloy, T = 4.2 K, Magnetic field strength = 0.9 H
c2

Microsctructure J
c
(A / m
2
)
Recrystallized 10
5

Cold worked and recovery annealed 10
7

Cold worked and precipitation hardened 10
8

Potential Applications
 Strong magnetic fields → 50 Tesla
(without heating, without large power input)
 Logic and storage functions in computers
Josephson junction → fast switching times (~ 10 ps)
 Magnetic levitation (arising from Meissner effect)
 Power transmission
High T
c
superconductivity
Compound T
c
Comments
Nb
3
Ge 23 K Till 1986
La-Ba-Cu-O 34 K Bednorz and Mueller (1986)
YBa
2
Cu
3
O
7-x
90 K > Boiling point of Liquid N
2

Tl (Bi)-Ba(Sr)-Ca-Cu-O 125 K
Manufacture of YBa
2
Cu
3
O
7-x

Please read from text book
Crystal structure of YBa
2
Cu
3
O
7÷x

Y
Ba
Cu
O

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