The Solid as a Many-Particle Problem
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As mentioned in Sect. 1.1, we understand the solid as being composed of ions (nuclei and closed electron shells) and valence electrons. A more rigorous approach would start from nuclei and electrons, but a simple consideration of the spatial extension of electrons in different shells of the isolated atoms shows immediately that this is not necessary. The wave functions of electrons in inner shells (the core electrons) with binding energies of hundreds or thousands of eV extend over a distance much smaller than the lattice spacing in a solid, as visualized in Fig. 2.1. In fact, when the atoms are assembled into the configuration of a crystal lattice (or likewise of a molecule, cluster, liquid…) it will be the outermost, weakly bound valence electrons which first experience the presence of their nearest neighbors. They will rearrange from their states in the isolated atoms into those which establish the chemical binding. Together with the electrostatic energy of the ion configuration, this defines the stable structure. Some textbooks on Solid State Theory start with a detailed description of this structure of crystalline solids (e.g., [4,7,9,11]) which is only briefly repeated here. Instead, we follow the approach of [5, 14, 21] with a presentation of the basic Hamiltonian, which defines the solid as a quantum-mechanical many-body problem.
KeywordsResponse Function Nobel Prize Electric Dipole Moment External Perturbation Magnetic Dipole Moment
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