Summary
In solid-state physics, the electron mobility characterises how quickly an electron can move through a metal or semiconductor when pulled by an electric field. There is an analogous quantity for holes, called hole mobility. The term carrier mobility refers in general to both electron and hole mobility. Electron and hole mobility are special cases of electrical mobility of charged particles in a fluid under an applied electric field. When an electric field E is applied across a piece of material, the electrons respond by moving with an average velocity called the drift velocity, . Then the electron mobility μ is defined as Electron mobility is almost always specified in units of cm2/(V⋅s). This is different from the SI unit of mobility, m2/(V⋅s). They are related by 1 m2/(V⋅s) = 104 cm2/(V⋅s). Conductivity is proportional to the product of mobility and carrier concentration. For example, the same conductivity could come from a small number of electrons with high mobility for each, or a large number of electrons with a small mobility for each. For semiconductors, the behavior of transistors and other devices can be very different depending on whether there are many electrons with low mobility or few electrons with high mobility. Therefore mobility is a very important parameter for semiconductor materials. Almost always, higher mobility leads to better device performance, with other things equal. Semiconductor mobility depends on the impurity concentrations (including donor and acceptor concentrations), defect concentration, temperature, and electron and hole concentrations. It also depends on the electric field, particularly at high fields when velocity saturation occurs. It can be determined by the Hall effect, or inferred from transistor behavior. Drift velocity Without any applied electric field, in a solid, electrons and holes move around randomly. Therefore, on average there will be no overall motion of charge carriers in any particular direction over time. However, when an electric field is applied, each electron or hole is accelerated by the electric field.
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