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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 =
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
=
de Broglie wavelength
v velocity of the electrons
h Plancks constant
( )
m
v
x
v kg x
s J x
4
31
34
10 27 . 7
10 109 . 9
10 62 . 6

= =
Wave number vector (k)

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
=
k E
E


k
Discrete energy levels
(Paulis exclusion principle)
If the length of the box is L
L n =
2

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
~ Ohms 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 ,
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
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

(

)

[
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 (
r
)
Mattheissen rule
=
T
+
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

(

)

[
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

(

)

[
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

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


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

>
<
=
c
c
H H
H H H
M
0


H H
c

Normal
Type I
Type II (Hard) superconductors
Type II SC has three regions

>
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 )
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
7x

Y
Ba
Cu
O