Posted: 02 Mar 2012 02:05 AM PST
Posted: 01 Mar 2012 02:05 PM PST
The valence electrons are bound to individual atoms, as opposed to conduction electrons (found in conductors and semiconductors), which can move freely within the atomic lattice of the material.
On a graph of the electronic band structure of a material, the valence band is located below the conduction band, separated from it in insulators and semiconductors by a band gap. In metals, the conduction band has no energy gap separating it from the valence band.
A conductivity allows an electric current to flow through it equally well in either direction. The amount of current which flows depends only on the amount of resistance of the conductor and on the amount of voltage applied across it. The direction of flow can always be considered as being from the positive to the negative pole of the source of the voltage applied, so the direction of flow through a conductor is always determined by which end of the conductor is connected to the positive pole of the source.
The overlapping depends on the interatomic distance (rd) and also on the energy level of the orbitals. If (rd) is large or the orbitals are of large energy level then there may be small overlapping or no overlapping leaving a band gap (Eg). The electrical conductivity of a metal depends on its capability to flow electrons from valence band to conduction band. Hence in case of a metal with large overlapped region the electrical conductivity is high along with good metallic property. If there is a small forbidden zone then the flow of electron from valence to conduction band is only possible if an external energy (thermal etc.) is supplied and these groups with small Eg are called semiconductivity.
Superconductivity is an electrical resistance of exactly zero which occurs in certain materials below a characteristic temperature. It was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911. Like ferromagnetism and atomic spectral lines, superconductivity is a quantum mechanical phenomenon. It is also characterized by a phenomenon called the Meissner effect, the ejection of any sufficiently weak magnetic field from the interior of the superconductor as it transitions into the superconducting state. The occurrence of the Meissner effect indicates that superconductivity cannot be understood simply as the idealization of “perfect conductivity” in classical physics.
The electrical resistivity of a metallic conductor decreases gradually as the temperature is lowered. However, in ordinary conductors such as copper and silver, this decrease is limited by impurities and other defects. Even near absolute zero, a real sample of copper shows some resistance. Despite these imperfections, in a superconductor the resistance drops abruptly to zero when the material is cooled below its critical temperature. An electric current flowing in a loop of superconducting wire can persist indefinitely with no power source
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