Chemistry Practice Problems Atomic, Ionic, and Molecular Solids Practice Problems Solution: Two solids are shown below. One is a semiconductor...

Solution: Two solids are shown below. One is a semiconductor and one is an insulator.Which one is which? Explain your reasoning.

Problem

Two solids are shown below. One is a semiconductor and one is an insulator.

Photographs of two piles of powder. The top pile has a wider diameter than the bottom and is nearly white, while the bottom power is rust colored.


Which one is which? Explain your reasoning.

Solution

Semiconductors are materials that can conduct electricity but not as well as metals. Semiconductors form an energy gap between the filled and empty states, much like the energy gap between bonding and antibonding orbitals. 

Occupied bonding molecular orbitals → valence band

Unoccupied antibonding molecular orbitals → conduction band

These two bands are separated by the energy band gap Eg

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