Glossary

Here, I’ll keep a list of some of the more technical words that I can’t avoid using from time-to-time. So, in alphabetical order:

Band structure: A map of the allowed quantum states in a crystal material.

Boson: Particles which have an integer value of quantum spin. Many bosons can occupy the same quantum state.

Electron: The “particle” which carries negative charge. In atoms, they buzz around the nucleus, forming something like a cloud of charge. In molecules, they form the bonds that stick atoms together. In solids, they can come free from the atoms and conduct electricity.

Fermion: A particle like an electron or a proton which has half-integer quantum spin. Only one fermion can occupy each quantum state.

Fermi energy: (Or Fermi level) The energy of the last filled state in the band structure of a material.

Micron (or micrometer): A length of one millionth of a meter.

Nanometer: A length of one billionth of a meter.

Neutron: The neutral particle in the nucleus of an atom.

Photon: A quantum of light. Depending on the energy (or wave length), this can be radio waves, infra-red, visible light, UV, or X-rays.

Proton: The positively charged particle in the nucleus of an atom.

Superconductor: A material which conducts electricity with no resistance and without losing any energy.

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