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l. Electronic Processes in α-Sulfur. II. Polaron Motion in a D.C. Electric Field


Thornber, Karvel Kuhn (1966) l. Electronic Processes in α-Sulfur. II. Polaron Motion in a D.C. Electric Field. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/RK39-A748.


Part I: The mobilities of photo-generated electrons and holes in orthorhombic sulfur are determined by drift mobility techniques. At room temperature electron mobilities between 0.4 cm2/V-sec and 4.8 cm2/V-sec and hole mobilities of about 5.0 cm2/V-sec are reported. The temperature dependence of the electron mobility is attributed to a level of traps whose effective depth is about 0.12 eV. This value is further supported by both the voltage dependence of the space-charge-limited, D.C. photocurrents and the photocurrent versus photon energy measurements.

As the field is increased from 10 kV/cm to 30 kV/cm a second mechanism for electron transport becomes appreciable and eventually dominates. Evidence that this is due to impurity band conduction at an appreciably lower mobility (4.10-4 cm2/V-sec) is presented. No low mobility hole current could be detected. When fields exceeding 30 kV/cm for electron transport and 35 kV/cm for hole transport are applied, avalanche phenomena are observed. The results obtained are consistent with recent energy gap studies in sulfur.

The theory of the transport of photo-generated carriers is modified to include the case of appreciable thermos-regeneration from the traps in one transit time.

Part II: An explicit formula for the electric field E necessary to accelerate an electron to a steady-state velocity v in a polarizable crystal at arbitrary temperature is determined via two methods utilizing Feynman Path Integrals. No approximation is made regarding the magnitude of the velocity or the strength of the field. However, the actual electron-lattice Coulombic interaction is approximated by a distribution of harmonic oscillator potentials. One may be able to find the “best possible” distribution of oscillators using a variational principle, but we have not been able to find the expected criterion. However, our result is relatively insensitive to the actual distribution of oscillators used, and our E-v relationship exhibits the physical behavior expected for the polaron. Threshold fields for ejecting the electron for the polaron state are calculated for several substances using numerical results for a simple oscillator distribution.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Electrical Engineering, Physics and Applied Mathematics)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Minor Option:Applied Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Mead, Carver
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:4 May 1966
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval ResearchUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10262015-112021684
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9247
Deposited On:27 Oct 2015 19:40
Last Modified:08 Mar 2024 20:15

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