Fermi level

Fermi level

Filling of the electronic states in various types of materials at equilibrium. Here, height is energy while width is the density of available states for a certain energy in the material listed. The shade follows the Fermi–Dirac distribution (black: all states filled, white: no state filled). In metals and semimetals the Fermi level EF lies inside at least one band. In insulators and semiconductors the Fermi level is inside a band gap; however, in semiconductors the bands are near enough to the Fermi level to be thermally populated with electrons or holes.

The Fermi level is the highest energy of occupied states in a solid at zero temperature. The Fermi level in conductors lies in the conduction band, in insulators it lies in the valence band, and in semiconductors it falls in the gap between the conduction band and the valence band. It is named after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi.