Ballistic Electron Flow

Ballistic conduction is when electrons move through a medium with minimal scattering and resistance. This happens in nanowires and nanotubes because of their small diameter.

Experiments confirm theory of “superballistic” electron flow – []

The idea behind superballistic flow is that interactions among electrons make them move in a highly coordinated manner, mimicking the behavior of particles in highly viscous fluids.

When electrons traveling individually pass through a constricted opening, they will bounce off the walls at either side, losing their momentum as well as some of their energy.

But when the electrons travel in dense groups, they are much more likely to bounce off each other than the walls. Such electron-electron collisions are known as “lossless,” since the total energy and the net momentum of the two particles are conserved. The momentum of individual electrons can change rapidly in the process, however the overall momentum conservation ensures that the losses are very low.

As a result, together the electrons are able to travel more quickly, and pass through the constriction more easily, than they would alone.

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