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Engineering Physics by S. Mani Naidu

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4.8 Particle in a potential box

A free electron (particle) in a metallic crystal may move freely inside the crystal from one place to another place but will not come out of the crystal because at the surface of the crystal, the electron experiences very large (infinite) potential [called potential barrier]. The potential barrier present at the surface [covering the metal surface] will act as a three-dimensional potential box for the free particle [electron]. This potential box can also be called as potential well because the electron will remain in that region only. For simplicity, first we see one-dimensional potential box [or potential well] and extend it to three-dimensional box.

(a) Particle in a one-dimensional box [or one dimensional potential ...

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