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Hall potential measurements show that electrons are the dominant charge carriers in most metals. However, Hall potentials indicate that for a few metals, such as tungsten, beryllium, and many semiconductors, the majority of charge carriers are positive. It turns out that conduction by positive charge is caused by the migration of missing electron sites (called holes) on ions. Conduction by holes is studied later in Condensed Matter Physics .

The Hall effect can be used to measure magnetic fields. If a material with a known density of charge carriers n is placed in a magnetic field and V is measured, then the field can be determined from [link] . In research laboratories where the fields of electromagnets used for precise measurements have to be extremely steady, a “Hall probe” is commonly used as part of an electronic circuit that regulates the field.

Velocity selector

An electron beam enters a crossed-field velocity selector with magnetic and electric fields of 2.0 mT and 6.0 × 10 3 N/C, respectively. (a) What must the velocity of the electron beam be to traverse the crossed fields undeflected? If the electric field is turned off, (b) what is the acceleration of the electron beam and (c) what is the radius of the circular motion that results?

Strategy

The electron beam is not deflected by either of the magnetic or electric fields if these forces are balanced. Based on these balanced forces, we calculate the velocity of the beam. Without the electric field, only the magnetic force is used in Newton’s second law to find the acceleration. Lastly, the radius of the path is based on the resulting circular motion from the magnetic force.

Solution

  1. The velocity of the unperturbed beam of electrons with crossed fields is calculated by [link] :
    v d = E B = 6 × 10 3 N / C 2 × 10 −3 T = 3 × 10 6 m / s.
  2. The acceleration is calculated from the net force from the magnetic field, equal to mass times acceleration. The magnitude of the acceleration is:
    m a = q v B a = q v B m = ( 1.6 × 10 −19 C ) ( 3 × 10 6 m/s ) ( 2 × 10 −3 T ) 9.1 × 10 −31 kg = 1.1 × 10 15 m/s 2 .
  3. The radius of the path comes from a balance of the circular and magnetic forces, or [link] :
    r = m v q B = ( 9.1 × 10 −31 kg ) ( 3 × 10 6 m/s ) ( 1.6 × 10 −19 C ) ( 2 × 10 −3 T ) = 8.5 × 10 −3 m.

Significance

If electrons in the beam had velocities above or below the answer in part (a), those electrons would have a stronger net force exerted by either the magnetic or electric field. Therefore, only those electrons at this specific velocity would make it through.

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The hall potential in a silver ribbon

[link] shows a silver ribbon whose cross section is 1.0 cm by 0.20 cm. The ribbon carries a current of 100 A from left to right, and it lies in a uniform magnetic field of magnitude 1.5 T. Using a density value of n = 5.9 × 10 28 electrons per cubic meter for silver, find the Hall potential between the edges of the ribbon.

The silver ribbon is shown with current flowing to the right, a magnetic field pointing up, negative charges accumulating on the edge near us and positive charges accumulating on the far edge. The dimensions of the strip are 1.0 cm by 0.20 cm.
Finding the Hall potential in a silver ribbon in a magnetic field is shown.

Strategy

Since the majority of charge carriers are electrons, the polarity of the Hall voltage is that indicated in the figure. The value of the Hall voltage is calculated using [link] :

V = I B l n e A .

Solution

When calculating the Hall voltage, we need to know the current through the material, the magnetic field, the length, the number of charge carriers, and the area. Since all of these are given, the Hall voltage is calculated as:

V = I B l n e A = ( 100 A ) ( 1.5 T ) ( 1.0 × 10 −2 m ) ( 5.9 × 10 28 / m 3 ) ( 1.6 × 10 −19 C ) ( 2.0 × 10 −5 m 2 ) = 7.9 × 10 −6 V.

Significance

As in this example, the Hall potential is generally very small, and careful experimentation with sensitive equipment is required for its measurement.

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Check Your Understanding A Hall probe consists of a copper strip, n = 8.5 × 10 28 electrons per cubic meter, which is 2.0 cm wide and 0.10 cm thick. What is the magnetic field when I = 50 A and the Hall potential is (a) 4.0 μ V and (b) 6.0 μ V ?

a. 1.1 T; b. 1.6 T

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Summary

  • Perpendicular electric and magnetic fields exert equal and opposite forces for a specific velocity of entering particles, thereby acting as a velocity selector. The velocity that passes through undeflected is calculated by v = E B .
  • The Hall effect can be used to measure the sign of the majority of charge carriers for metals. It can also be used to measure a magnetic field.

Conceptual questions

Hall potentials are much larger for poor conductors than for good conductors. Why?

Poor conductors have a lower charge carrier density, n , which, based on the Hall effect formula, relates to a higher Hall potential. Good conductors have a higher charge carrier density, thereby a lower Hall potential.

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Problems

A strip of copper is placed in a uniform magnetic field of magnitude 2.5 T. The Hall electric field is measured to be 1.5 × 10 −3 V/m . (a) What is the drift speed of the conduction electrons? (b) Assuming that n = 8.0 × 10 28 electrons per cubic meter and that the cross-sectional area of the strip is 5.0 × 10 −6 m 2 , calculate the current in the strip. (c) What is the Hall coefficient 1/nq?

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The cross-sectional dimensions of the copper strip shown are 2.0 cm by 2.0 mm. The strip carries a current of 100 A, and it is placed in a magnetic field of magnitude B = 1.5 T. What are the value and polarity of the Hall potential in the copper strip?

A horizontal 2.0 cm by 2.0 cm square copper strip has current I flowing through it to the right. A magnetic field, B, points up, perpendicular to the face of the strip.

5.8 × 10 −7 V

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The magnitudes of the electric and magnetic fields in a velocity selector are 1.8 × 10 5 V/m and 0.080 T, respectively. (a) What speed must a proton have to pass through the selector? (b) Also calculate the speeds required for an alpha-particle and a singly ionized s O 16 atom to pass through the selector.

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A charged particle moves through a velocity selector at constant velocity. In the selector, E = 1.0 × 10 4 N/C and B = 0.250 T. When the electric field is turned off, the charged particle travels in a circular path of radius 3.33 mm. Determine the charge-to-mass ratio of the particle.

4.8 × 10 7 C/kg

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A Hall probe gives a reading of 1.5 μ V for a current of 2 A when it is placed in a magnetic field of 1 T. What is the magnetic field in a region where the reading is 2 μ V for 1.7 A of current?

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Questions & Answers

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Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 2. OpenStax CNX. Oct 06, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12074/1.3
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