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DIELECTRIC PROPERTIES OF SOLIDS

Dielectrics are basically electric insulators which ordinarily do not contain any free charge
carries fao conduction. They, however contain pocitive and negative charges which are bound
together and hence could be affected by the applied electric fields. A brief description of the
properties of dielectric solids in the presence of an external electric field is given in this
chapter. These properties are important to understand the propagation of electromagnetic
waves through the material media and fabricate various devices such as capacitors,
microphones, etc.
POLARITION AND SUSCEPTIBILITY
When a dielectric is placed in an external electric field E0, the positive and negative charges
are displaced from their equilibrium positions by very small distance (less than an atomic
diameter) throughuot the volume of the dielectric. This results in the formation of a large
number of dipoles each having some dipole moment in the direction of the field. The material
is said to be polarized with a polarization P defined as the dipole moment per unit volume of
the material. As shown in 9.1 the effect of polarization is to reduce the magnitude of the
external field E. Thus the magnitude of the resultant field is less than the applied field E<E0.
In vector notation, we may write
E E0 E p

The field Ep is called the polarization feild as it tends to oppose the applied field E0 within
the material. For ordinary electric fields, the polarization P is proportional to the
mascroscopic field E. In SI units, it is expressed as

P 0 e E
Where e is the permittivity of free space an x is the electric susceptibility. Thus, except for a
constant factor, the electric suscepbility is a measure of the polarozation produced in the
material per unit resultant electric field.
9.2 the local field
The electric field acting at the siteof an atom or molecule is, in general, significantly different
from the macroscopic electric field E an is called the local field. This field is responsible for
polarization of each atom or molecule od a solid. For an atomic site with cubic symmetry, the
local field is given by the Lorentz relation,
Eloc E0 Ep

P
P
E
3 0
3 0

Thus, appart from the macroscopic field, the local field also contains a term which represents
the field due polrization of other atoms in the solid. The expression gets midified with shpe of
the specimen.
9.3 dielectric constant and polarizability
The electric displacement vector for an isotropic or cubic medium can be defined as

D 0 r E 0 E P
Where e is called the relative permittivity or dielectric constant of the electrics. It is scalar
quantity for an isotropic medium and is always dimensionless. The can be used to define the
dielectric constant as

0E P
1 e
0E

Thus, like suscepbility, the d ielectric constant is also a measure of the polarization of the
material. Larger the polarazation per unit resultant field, greater will be the dielectric constant
of the dielectric.
The polarizability , a, of an atom is defined as the dipole moment per unit local electric field
at the atom,

p Eloc
Thus polarizability is an atomic property whereas dielectric constant is a macroscopic
property which depends upon the arrangement of atom within the crystal. If all the atoms
have the dam polarizability and there are N number of atoms per unit volume, the
polarization can be expressed as

P Np N Eloc
The general expression for polarization is, however, given by
P N j j Eloc
j

Where the summation is over all the atoms or atomic sites. In case of cubic symmetry, Eqs
and yield

P
P N E
3 0

Which, on rearranging the terms, gives

N l 0
P

0 E 1 N
3 0

Using , we obtain

r 1

N l 0
N
1
3 0

2 N
3 0
r
N
1
3 0
1

Or

This expression can be put in the form

r 1 N

r 2 3 0
This is known as the clausius mossot relation. It relates the dielectric constant to the atomic
polarizability provided the condition of cubic symmetry holds. In a more general form, it is
expressed as

r 1
1

N j j
r 2 3 0 j

9.4 sources of polarizability


The net polarizabilty of a dielectric material results mainly from the following three types of
contributions :
i.
ii.
iii.

Electric polarizability
Ionic polarizability
Dipolar or orientational polarizability

The extant to which a particular polarizability contributes depends on the nature of the
dielectric and the frequency of the applied electric field.