Defects or Imperfections in Solids

Defects or Imperfections in Solids

Any deviation from the perfectly ordered arrangement constitutes a defect or imperfection. These defects sometimes called thermodynamic defects because the number of these defects depend on the temperature.

(1)  Electronic imperfections: Generally, electrons are present in fully occupied lowest energy states. But at high temperatures, some of the electrons may occupy higher energy state depending upon the temperature. For example, in the crystals of pure Si or Ge some electrons are released thermally from the covalent bonds at temperature above 0 K. these electrons are free to move in the crystal and are responsible for electrical conductivity. This type of conduction is known as intrinsic conduction. The electron deficient bond formed by the release of an electron is called a hole. In the presence of electric field the positive holes move in a direction opposite to that of the electrons and conduct electricity. The electrons and holes in solids gives rise to electronic imperfections.

(2) Atomic imperfections/point defects: When deviations exist from the regular or periodic arrangement around an atom or a group of atoms in a crystalline substance, the defects are called point defects. Point defect in a crystal may be classified into following three types.

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