The Hall effect is due to the nature of the current in a conductor. Current consists of the movement of many small charge carriers, typically electrons, holes, ions (seeElectromigration) or all three. When a magnetic field is present that is not parallel to the direction of motion of moving charges, these charges experience a force, called theLorentz force. When such a magnetic field is absent, the charges follow approximately straight, 'line of sight' paths between collisions with impurities, phonons, etc. However, when a magnetic field with a perpendicular component is applied, their paths between collisions are curved so that moving charges accumulate on one face of the material. This leaves equal and opposite charges exposed on the other face, where there is a scarcity of mobile charges. The result is an asymmetric distribution of charge density across the Hall element that is perpendicular to both the 'line of sight' path and the applied magnetic field. The separation of charge establishes an electric field that opposes the migration of further charge, so a steady electrical potential is established for as long as the charge is flowing.
In the classical view, there are only electrons moving in the same average direction both in the case of electron or hole conductivity. This cannot explain the opposite sign of the Hall effect observed. The difference is that electrons in the upper bound of the valence band have opposite group velocity and wave vector direction when moving, which can be effectively treated as if positively charged particles (holes) moved in the opposite direction to that of the electrons.