Classical and quantum statistics
Classical Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics and quantum mechanical Fermi–Dirac statistics are introduced to calculate the occupancy of states. Special attention is given to analytic approximations of the Fermi–Dirac integral and to its approximate solutions in the nondegenerate and the highly degenerate regime. In addition, some numerical approximations to the Fermi–Dirac integral are summarized.
Semiconductor statistics includes both classical statistics and quantum statistics. Classical or Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics is derived on the basis of purely classical physics arguments. In contrast, quantum statistics takes into account two results of quantum mechanics, namely (i) the Pauli exclusion principle which limits the number of electrons occupying a state of energy E and (ii) the finiteness of the number of states in an energy interval E and E + dE. The finiteness of states is a result of the Schrödinger equation. In this section, the basic concepts of classical statistics and quantum statistics are derived. The fundamentals of ideal gases and statistical distributions are summarized as well since they are the basis of semiconductor statistics.
Probability and distribution functions
Consider a large number N of free classical particles such as atoms, molecules or electrons which are kept at a constant temperature T, and which interact only weakly with one another. The energy of a single particle consists of kinetic energy due to translatory motion and an internal energy for example due to rotations, vibrations, or orbital motions of the particle. In the following we consider particles with only kinetic energy due to translatory motion. The particles of the system can assume an energy E, where E can be either a discrete or a continuous variable. If Ni particles out of N particles have an energy between Ei and Ei + dE, the probability of any particle having any energy within the interval Ei and Ei + dE is given by
where f(E) is the energy distribution function of a particle system. In statistics, f(E) is frequently called the probability density function. The total number of particles is given by
where the sum is over all possible energy intervals. Thus, the integral over the energy distribution function is
In other words, the probability of any particle having an energy between zero and infinity is unity. Distribution functions which obey
are called normalized distribution functions. The average energy or mean energy of a single particle is obtained by calculating the total energy and dividing by the number of particles, that is
In addition to energy distribution functions, velocity distribution functions are valuable. Since only the kinetic translatory motion (no rotational motion) is considered, the velocity and energy are related by
The average velocity and the average energy are related by
and is the velocity corresponding to the average energy
In analogy to the energy distribution we assume that Ni particles have a velocity within the interval vi and vi + dv. Thus,
where f(v) is the normalized velocity distribution. Knowing f(v), the following relations allow one to calculate the mean velocity, the mean square velocity, and the root-mean-square velocity
Up to now we have considered the velocity as a scalar. A more specific description of the velocity distribution is obtained by considering each component of the velocity v = (vx, vy, vz). If Ni particles out of N particles have a velocity in the ‘volume’ element vx + dvx, vy + dvy, and vz + dvz, the distribution function is given by
Since Σi Ni = N, the velocity distribution function is normalized, i. e.
The average of a specific propagation direction, for example vx is evaluated in analogy to Eqs. (13.11 – 13). One obtains
In a closed system the mean velocities are zero, that is . However, the mean square velocities are, just as the energy, not equal to zero.
Ideal gases of atoms and electrons
The basis of classical semiconductor statistics is ideal gas theory. It is therefore necessary to make a small excursion into this theory. The individual particles in such ideal gases are assumed to interact weakly, that is collisions between atoms or molecules are a relatively seldom event. It is further assumed that there is no interaction between the particles of the gas (such as electrostatic interaction), unless the particles collide. The collisions are assumed to be (i) elastic (i. e. total energy and momentum of the two particles involved in a collision are preserved) and (ii) of very short duration.
Ideal gases follow the universal gas equation
P V = R T (13.19)
where P is the pressure, V the volume of the gas, T its temperature, and R is the universal gas constant. This constant is independent of the species of the gas particles and has a value of R = 8.314 J K–1 mol–1.
Next, the pressure P and the kinetic energy of an individual particle of the gas will be calculated. For the calculation it is assumed that the gas is confined to a cube of volume V, as shown in Fig. 13.1. The quantity of the gas is assumed to be 1 mole, that is the number of atoms or molecules is given by Avogadro’s number, NAvo = 6.023 × 1023 particles per mole. Each side of the cube is assumed to have an area A = V 2/3. If a particle of mass m and momentum m vx (along the x-direction) is elastically reflected from the wall, it provides a momentum 2 m vx to reverse the particle momentum. If the duration of the collision with the wall is dt, then the force acting on the wall during the time dt is given by
where the momentum change is dp = 2 m vx. The pressure P on the wall during the collision with one particle is given by
where A is the area of the cube’s walls. Next we calculate the total pressure P experienced by the wall if a number of NAvo particles are within the volume V. For this purpose we first determine the number of collisions with the wall during the time dt. If the particles have a velocity vx, then the number of particles hitting the wall during dt is (NAvo / V) A vx dt. The fraction of particles
having a velocity vx is obtained from the velocity distribution function and is given by. Consequently, the total pressure is obtained by integration over all positive velocities in the x-direction
Since the velocity distribution is symmetric with respect to positive and negative x-direction, the integration can be expanded from – ∞ to + ∞.
Since the velocity distribution is isotropic, the mean square velocity is given by
The pressure on the wall is then given by
Using the universal gas equation, Eq. (13.19), one obtains
The average kinetic energy of one mole of the ideal gas can then be written as
The average kinetic energy of one single particle is obtained by division by the number of particles, i. e.
where k = R / NAvo is the Boltzmann constant. The preceding calculation has been carried out for a three-dimensional space. In a one-dimensional space (one degree of freedom), the average velocity is and the resulting kinetic energy is given by
(per degree of freedom) . (13.29)
Thus the kinetic energy of an atom or molecule is given by (1/2) kT. Equation (13.29) is called the equipartition law, which states that each ‘degree of freedom’ contributes (1/2) kT to the total kinetic energy.