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Review and principles of conductivity measurement – Material Science – Application Note 2

Latest updated: May 6, 2020

Introduction 

The electrical conductivity is a physical property of a material quantifying its ability to transport charged species (called charge carriers), in the presence of an electrical field. It is an intrinsic property of the material and depends on both the mobility and the concentration (or density) of the charge carriers (electron, holes, ion, etc) [1]. According to the type of the charge carrier, different terms can be used to refer to electrical conductivity: electronic conductivity, ionic conductivity, electrolytic conductivity, protonic conductivity (H + ), etc. So according to the predominated charge carrier, a the material can be classified as:
– Electronic conductor: material where the conductivity is due to electrons or holes (metals and metallic alloys, semiconductors, some oxides, etc).
– Ionic conductor: material where the conductivity is due to ionic charge carriers (Li+, Na+, Ag+, H+, O2-, etc.)
– Mixed conductor (known as Mixed Ionic and Electronic Conductor (MIEC)): material where the conductivity is due to electronic and ionic charge carriers.

 

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