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Author Topic: Hi! I'm a n00b with atomic inquiries.
Chrisessa
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Icon 6 posted July 12, 2006 18:10      Profile for Chrisessa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My name is Chrisessa. I am very proud of myself as this is my first forum ever. I am 28, female, and I have lots of interests from art to math to science. I am studying electronics engineering and I have many questions for geeks, so I will be asking nerd questions quite regualarly.

One thing that has been baffling me is holes and electrons. From my understanding, current is made when electrons leave the valence shell and become free. At that time they leave "holes" in the valance shell that act as a postitive charged particle. This is confusing to me, because this seems like it would change the molecular structure of the atom. The protons are meant to be in the nucleus, not the valance shell. Am I missing something? [Beard of Peter Gabriel!]

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eep!

Posts: 4 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 20:50      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_hole

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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SilverBlade
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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 21:23      Profile for SilverBlade   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome to the forums, Chrisessa!

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http://www.silver-blade.net

Posts: 303 | From: Hong Kong | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 21:27      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Two atoms are walking down the street.
One turns to the other and says "I think I lost an electron."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm positive."

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 12, 2006 23:34      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
1) Atoms do not have a molecular structure. They have an atomic structure. You can't have a molecule that consists of less than two atoms. This may seem like a little thing but as you venture further into chemistry you will find that it's not.

2) Atoms, when all their electrons are present, carry a net neutral charge. In other words, they have the same number of protons and electrons. When the atom loses an electron, it loses its neutrality because one proton is left uncanceled and the atom now has a net positive charge. Conversely, when an atom gains an extra electron it also loses neutrality and gains a net negative charge. Atoms do not gain or lose protons except in cases of nuclear fission or fusion, but that's not exactly relevant to semi-conductors.

Going ionic does not change the weight of an atom, nor does it change the configuration of electrons below the valence shell. However, the size of the atom will change, and it'll do some different things than it would in its neutral form. Whether or not an electron is lost or gained, or how many electrons are lost or gained, is a property of the element the atom belongs to and can be predicted by the periodic table. It is the configuration of the electrons that dictates not only how an atom ionizes but most other atomic properties, and if you look you will see that the periodic table has elements with similar properties grouped together and these groups all have similar configurations.

I think it's beautiful, but then again I'm a lab rat. YMMV.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Mac D
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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 12:25      Profile for Mac D     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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There's nothing wrong with me, This is how I'm supposed to be.

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GrumpySteen

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 17:34      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Welcome to the forums, Chrisessa. The walls are fair game, but try not to get too much paint on the chairs.

Xanthine wrote:
Going ionic does not change the weight of an atom

Not even the teeniest, tiniest amount? [Smile]

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 18:04      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not enough to matter. [Razz]

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chrisessa
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Icon 10 posted July 13, 2006 18:39      Profile for Chrisessa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow! Thanks for saying hi everyone!

Sorry to be both the n00b and the retard but I'm still slightly confused. Maybe I don't completely understand the difference between the properties of a hole and a proton.

I understand the protons are part of the nucleus and they are what determines the atomic number of the nucleus; i.e. Silicon has 14 protons.

I understand that a hole is the absence of an electron in the valence shell. I also understand that holes will "hold" a positive charge.

Are you saying that it isn't so much that the hole is holding a positive charge as it is the lack of that elctron is not counteracting one of the atom's protons?

Also this brings up another question. [Smile]
I understand the theory of neutral atoms that need to have the same number of protons as electrons to be in its neutral state. This makes sense to me in simple cases, such as hydrogen, with one proton and one electron. It does not make sense when we,for example, go back to silicon. Silicon has 14 protons and 10 electrons. [Geek]

I've started really digging into readings about all of this stuff, but it seems to lead me down a rabbit hole of never-ending questions. I don't think I'm ever going to get out!

Thanks for talking atoms with me. [Big Grin]
<3

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eep!

Posts: 4 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 19:08      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Xanthine wrote:
Not enough to matter. [Razz]

What if you have a whole lot of 'em. I mean, they're totally like pokemon, y'know. You've got to collect them all!

And then you sneak up behind someone and put the tip of your finger really close to their ear... [Big Grin]

(just be glad I skipped the anti-matter joke I came up with first)

chrisessa wrote:
Are you saying that it isn't so much that the hole is holding a positive charge as it is the lack of that elctron is not counteracting one of the atom's protons?

That's exactly what they're saying.

It does not make sense when we,for example, go back to silicon. Silicon has 14 protons and 10 electrons.

Umm... where did you get 10 from? Everything I've seen says 14 electrons.

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Stereo

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Icon 1 posted July 13, 2006 19:09      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chrisessa:
It does not make sense when we,for example, go back to silicon. Silicon has 14 protons and 10 electrons.

Not quite. Silicon does have 14 protons (and its most prevalent isotope has 14 neutrons), so in order to be neutral, it must have 14 electrons. Think of it: the charge for each proton is +1; the charge of each electon is -1, so 14*(+1) + 14*(-1) = 0. Easy as that.

But it needs to either loose or gain 4 electrons for its last shell layer to be full* (loosing all its outsidemost layer, or filling it up). So when it reacts with oxygen (which has a 2 electron valence), it will take two oxygen atoms to "empty" the silicium last layer: SiO2. But if it were to react with sodium atoms, it would take four to fill up the Si last layer: Na4Si.

Let's say it this way: neutrality is not necessarily the preferred state of an atom.

*I know this is a shortcut, and an atom doesn't really "loose" electrons when it "mates" with another one (or two, or more) to make a molecule; it rather shares it - the electron(s) will move freely from one to another. Or something like that, if I remember my chemistry courses.

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Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

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The real Stealth
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Icon 1 posted July 14, 2006 20:24      Profile for The real Stealth   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ok...a refesh from Mr Shlagle's Chemestry. The number of protons equals the number of protons. the number of neutrons affects the decay rate and the effects of the atom...(radioactivity, etc.) Now the Electrons affect the Reactivity. On the Periodic Table they are based on the elements reactivity with water.(Highest reactivity on the botom left and lowest on the top right...Sience Hydrogen is the base standard for the test it is seperated from the table and put above the first row (same Valence)

Now in electrical current you play a little deeper.

A positive current is made of negatively charged electrons. as these electrons leave their atoms the create a "hole" this "hole" has a charge of +1 and a mass of 0 amu. (an electron has a charge of -1 and a mass of (1/1840)amu.

Now in an electrical circut the electrons create a current flow and the "holes" flow in the opposite direction. this flow is most involved in a transistor. Here you have a N-P-N (for this example) configuration and must apply a current to the "P" contact to allow current to pass through the transistor. This "valve" is caused by a hole that funnles current from the last contact.

The idea is that a hole is a non-particle that is opposite of an electron. This hole is essential in opperation of electronics. [Geek]

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 03:30      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The way I used to think of holes and electrons back in the day when I was learning electronics was as follows:

Flowing electricity is like flowing water. If you have a tube full of water, but there is no movement, it is full of water. If you attach it to a pipe and water flows through it, there is a flow of water.

In an electric current, wires are pipes, electrons are water. So although there is a movement of electrons, the pipe stays full.

Although holes are an absence of electrons, they can be thought of in the same way as electrons, as they are just an imaginary construct. A flow of voltage from high to low (positive voltage to ground) is actually a flow of electrons in the opposite direction. If you just accept it to be so, it works.

For simple small molecules, net charge is always neutral under standard conditions. However, with crystal structures, it is possible to screw around a bit. If you have a big silicon crystal, it consists of a large array of atoms. It is possible to replace a few of these atoms with other ones of similar size. If they have a different number of electrons, it will affect the material produced. This is known as doping.

If you add 1 atom of aluminium, which has one less electron, you create a hole, and the material is p (for positive). If you add Phosphorus, there is one more electron, and the material becomes n.

Sticking materials which are n-doped and p-doped together allows you to create electronic gate type materials, such as diodes, and transistors.

This is a very brief, and because I wrote it from my head, probably rather weak explanation. Tuning the electron energy levels by doping is a quite interesting topic. If people want more info, I can probably provide. Or simply look at Britney Spears' guide.

Posts: 2421 | From: That London | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Elvermere
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Icon 7 posted July 17, 2006 07:03      Profile for Elvermere     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
/me bows down to Xanth.....really well said.

I'm not sure I really understand the concept of an "electron hole" as I never got taught that concept as I was taught about filling valence shells.

This is going to be REALLY hard in words but I'll have a go.

Pretty much the most stable elements known are the noble gases. The reason for this is that they have a completely filled valence (or outer) shell (the orbits when the electrons fly around). Because of this it is really hard for something to pull an electron off it.

Now every other element wants to be this stable and it can generally become a reasonable approximation of this by either gaining or losing electrons until the outer shell is full.

Take Sodium (Na), not the simplest but it has a diagram on this page (Wiki page) . It has a single electron in the outer shell and for it to become more stable it really needs to lose this so that the outer shell becomes full, and therefore more stable (ie. less reactive).

So in essence (if I read your question right) the answer to your question is that, yes, there is an uneven balance in the charge on the atom in question but less reactivity is more important.

I must admit that this stuff was only solidified in my mind when I could actually see 3d representations of the atoms and molecules.

I hope this helps.

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Duct Tape is like the force.
It has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.

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Stormtalon
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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2006 11:21      Profile for Stormtalon   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Quick, someone blow her mind by posting images of the higher-order electron cloud orbitals!

[Wink]

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Those who are easily offended should be.
And often.

WoW: The Crazy Ones

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 17, 2006 11:38      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And then follow that up with the caveat that the orbitals are really just probability curves. The electrons could really be somewhere else. It's just that, for a given energy level, the electrons are most likely to be in that orbital...

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

Posts: 7670 | From: the lab | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged


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