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Electrons and holes in semiconductors
Fig b shows the energy band diagram of an intrinsic semiconductor (pure semiconductor). Fig a and Fig b represent charge carriers at absolute zero temperature and at room temperature respectively.
The electrons in an intrinsic semiconductor, which move in to the conduction band at high temperatures are called as intrinsic carriers. In the valence band, a vacancy is created at the place where the electron was present, before it had moved in to the conduction band. This vacancy is called hole. Fig c helps in understanding the creation of a hole. Consider the case of pure germanium crystal. It has four electrons in its outer or valence orbit. These electrons are known as valence electrons. When two atoms of germanium are brought close to each other, a covalent bond is formed between the atoms. If some additional energy is received, one of the electrons contributing to a covalent bond breaks and it is free to move in the crystal lattice.
While coming out of the bond, a hole is said to be created at its place, which is usually represented by a open circle. An electron from the neighbouring atom can break the covalent bond and can occupy this hole, creating a hole at another place. Since an electron has a unit negative charge, the hole is associated with a unit positive charge. The importance of hole is that, it may serve as a carrier of electricity in the same manner as the free electron, but in the opposite direction.
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