[ bănd′găp′ ]
The difference in energy in a substance between electron orbitals in which the electrons are not free to move (the valence band) and orbitals in which they are relatively free and will carry a current (the conduction band). In semiconductors, some electrons are sustained in the conduction band by thermal energy. Energy released when an electron in the conduction band falls into a hole in the valence band is called bandgap radiation. See also hole semiconductor laser.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.