Cechoslovackij fiziceskij zurnal

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 528–535

The thermal photo-electric phenomenon in semi-conductors


  • Jan Tauc
    • Institute of Technical PhysicsCzechosl. Acad. Sci.

DOI: 10.1007/BF01687219

Cite this article as:
Tauc, J. Czech J Phys (1955) 5: 528. doi:10.1007/BF01687219


On illuminating homogeneous samples cut from single crystals of germanium an emf was observed when a thermal current flowed through them. This phenomenon was called a “thermal photo-electric phenomenon” and is caused by the fact that illumination changes the thermal emf of the semi-conductor. Using equations from the thermodynamics of irreversible processes a theory of this phenomenon was elaborated. Its conclusions are in agreement with preliminary measurements. It is shown that the measurement of a thermal photo emf renders possible the determination of Q1*+Q2* where Q1*, Q2* are the mean kinetic energies transferred by the electron and hole respectively. The type of scattering of the current carriers can be judged from the magnitude of Q1*+Q2*.

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© Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences 1955