Theoretical Concepts of Photoexcited Hot Carriers

  • C. J. Hearn
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 52)


Most of the extensive literature on hot carriers refers to carrier heating by an electric field. This lecture concerns a totally different mechanism for producing a non-equilibrium carrier distribution. Carriers are photoexcited into a band at a steady rate with a mean energy in excess of the thermal energy. If the recombination lifetime Tr is sufficiently short in relation to the thermalization time τth the carriers spend insufficient time in the band to completely thermalize via the electron-phonon interaction prior to their recombination and a hot steady-state carrier distribution is obtained. The thermalization time is not a very well defined quantity and like the recombination time is dependent on carrier energy, but broadly speaking we can use these quantities to classify the types of heating that we can expect to find. If τr << τth the distribution is wholly recombination-controlled with effectively no thermalization. If τr >> τth the majority of carriers are thermalized and the distribution function only differs from equilibrium by having a high-energy tail containing a small minority of unthermalized carriers. The tailed-thermal distribution approaches the equilibrium limit for large τr by the height of the tail decreasing to zero.


Acoustic Phonon Edge Region Thermalization Time Deformation Potential Acoustic Scattering 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Hearn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Oceanography Marine Science LaboratoriesU.C.N.W.Menai Bridge, GwyneddUK

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