Semiconductors and charge carriers: the copper atom's electronic configuration. There are 29 electrons and 9 protons in the copper atom which makes it electrically neutral. Together with 28 electrons in the first 3 shells ( K, L, M ) and the 28 protons in the nucleus the copper atom's core has a net charge of + 1 e. The electron in the outermost N shell has only 1 electron known as the valence electron. Photo-Credit:

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Semiconductors and charge carriers

Analog electronics and applications

Conductors, semiconductors and holes as charge carriers

Topics covered in this lecture

A. Conductors

B. Semiconductors

C. Holes

D. Intrinsic semiconductors

Conductors: A conductor is the name of a material which is a good conductor of electricity. Copper ( Cu ), Silver ( Ag ) and Gold ( Au ) are examples of materials which are good conductors of electricity, in other words they are known as conductors. 

A natural question arises as to why copper is a good conductor of electricity. Such a fact can be understood from its electronic configuration.

Electronic configurations are a good way to understand the physical as well as chemical properties of materials. A great deal of our modern understanding of materials and their properties are based on the detailed electronic configuration facts of the same.  

The copper has 29 electrons in its atom. That means it has an equal number of protons. It has two isotopes, one has 34 and the other has 36 neutrons. Isotopes are the same chemical element having 2 or more than 2 different types of nuclei, due to difference in the number of neutrons. As a whole copper atom is electrically neutral. 

The 29 electrons are distributed into shells or orbits. Consequently the first orbit has 2, 2nd orbit has 8 and 3rd orbit has 18 electrons. There is only 1 electron in the outermost orbit of the copper atom. 

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