In physics, chemistry, and electronic engineering, an electron hole is the lack of an electron at a position where one could exist in an atom or atomic lattice. It is different from the positron, which is an actual particle of antimatter. If an electron is excited into a higher state it leaves a hole in its old state. This meaning is used in Auger electron spectroscopy (and other x-ray techniques), in computational chemistry, and to explain the low electron-electron scattering-rate in crystals (metals, semiconductors). In crystals, electronic band structure calculations lead to an effective mass for the electrons, which typically is negative at the top of a band. The negative mass is an unintuitive concept, and in these situations a more familiar picture is found by considering a positive charge with a positive mass.

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