If suppose, I crystallised a quarternary ammonium electride could this conduct electricity similar to a metallic conductor? Metals have lattice atoms as charged metal ions are a sea of electrons. This leads me to believe a quartnernary ammonium electrides are quite similar, with lattice points being quartnernary ammonium ions and a sea of electrons.

Is this true? Can I consider quarternary ammonium electrides as metallic conductors?


1 Answer 1


You can't conclude that by thinking alone; some experiments are necessary.

True, an electron in an electride is kinda "free", in that it isn't connected to any particular atom. But that doesn't mean it can roam the entire structure, free as the wind. In fact, it sits in a potential well formed by the neighboring ions and molecules, only the well is so wide and shallow that it looks more like a puddle. To decide the conductivity question, you want to know how one puddle relates to the others, and the answer may be any of the following:

  • connected to form a continuous sea, much like in a metal;
  • connected to form a network of channels;
  • isolated but still close enough for electrons to tunnel between them;
  • isolated and spaced wide apart.

All in all, theoretically an electride can be anything from a metallic conductor to an insulator, depending on its composition and structure.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand what you mean by 'potential well'. Can you please elaborate a bit on that? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 7:44
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_well $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ I see, so your saying the electron simply stays within the low potential region and just oscillating? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 8:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That depends on the shape of the low potential regions and how far apart they are placed, that's what I said. It can be a continuous sea, or it can be a multitude of isolated puddles. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ In that case, is it possible to find out whether the electron will be delocalized or stuck in a well? I think higher temperatures can delocalize the electron. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 8:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.