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In quantum mechanics, ionized impurity scattering is the scattering of charge carriers by ionization in the lattice. The most primitive models can be conceptually understood as a particle responding to unbalanced local charge that arises near a crystal impurity; similar to an electron encountering an electric field.[1] This effect is the mechanism by which doping decreases mobility.

In the current quantum mechanical picture of conductivity the ease with which electrons traverse a crystal lattice is dependent on the near perfectly regular spacing of ions in that lattice. Only when a lattice contains perfectly regular spacing can the ion-lattice interaction (scattering) lead to almost transparent behavior of the lattice. Impurity atoms in a crystal have an effect similar to thermal vibrations where conductivity has a direct relationship between temperature.

A crystal with impurities is less regular than a pure crystal, and a reduction in electron mean free paths occurs. Impure crystals have lower conductivity than pure crystals with less temperature sensitivity in that lattice.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ionized impurity scattering". Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  2. ^ Kip, Arthur F. Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism. McGraw-Hill. pp. 211–213. ISBN 0-07-034780-8.

External linksEdit

Lundstrom, Mark. Fundamentals of carrier transport. Cambridge University Press 2000. pp. 58–60. ISBN 0-521-63134-3.