ECE 59500 - Primer on Semiconductor Fundamentals

Lecture Hours: 3 Credits: 1

This is an experiential learning course.

Counts as:
CMPE Special Content Elective
EE Elective

Experimental Course Offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2019

(ECE 20002 or ECE 25500) and (PHYS 27200 or PHYS 24100 or PHYS 26100 or PHYS 25100) and (MA 26600 or MA 26200 or MA 3660)

Requisites by Topic:
Familiarity with the lead structure and basic electrical characteristics associated with normally encountered semiconductor devices (pn-junction diodes, BJTs, MOSFETs); elementary electrostatics; rudimentary differential equations.

Catalog Description:
This course about semiconductors is designed to provide a foundation to understand the operation of devices such as transistors, diodes, solar cells, light-emitting devices, etc. The course does not discuss devices ??? it prepares students to understand the operation of semiconductor devices. The treatment is physical and intuitive, and not heavily mathematical. Technology users will gain an understanding of the semiconductor physics that is the basis for devices. Semiconductor technology developers may find it a useful starting point for diving deeper into condensed matter physics, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, and materials science. The course presents an electrical engineering perspective on semiconductors, but those in other fields may find it a useful introduction to the approach that has guided the development of semiconductor technology for the past 50+ years. Topics include semiconductor fundamentals such as energy bands, bandgaps, effective masses, electrons and holes, and elements of quantum mechanics. The Fermi function, doping, and carrier densities are then discussed. Carrier transport and generation-recombination are examined along with the important concept of quasi-Fermi levels. The course concludes with the ???semiconductor equations,??? which provide a complete, mathematical description of electrons and holes in semiconductors (subject to some important simplifying assumptions) and ends with a discussion of how energy band diagrams provide a qualitative solution to these equations.

Supplementary Information:
This course runs the first five weeks of the semester and is offered through edX.

Required Text(s):
  1. A Primer on Semiconductor Fundamentals (Lecure notes by M.S. Lundstrom - to be published by World Scientific).
Recommended Text(s):
  1. Advanced Semiconductor Fundamentals, 2nd Edition, Pierret, R. F., Pearson Education, Inc., 2003, ISBN No. 0-13-061792-X.
  2. Lessons from Nanoscience Part A: Basic Concepts, 2nd Edition, World Scientific, 2017.
  3. Semiconductor Device Fundamentals, 2nd Edition, Pierret, R. F., Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1996, ISBN No. 0-201-54393-1.

Learning Outcomes:

A student who successfully fulfills the course requirements will have demonstrated:
  1. an understanding of basic semiconductor material properties and of the behavior of electrons and holes in semiconductors.. [1]
  2. an ability to simplify and apply the semiconductor equations to specific problems.. [1]
  3. an ability to draw and interpret energy band diagrams.. [1]

Lecture Outline:

Major Topics
Unit 1 Energy levels to energy bands; Crystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous semiconductors; Miller indices; Properties of common semiconductors; Free carriers in semiconductors; Doping;
Unit 2 The wave equation; Quantum confinement; Quantum tunneling and reflection; Electron waves in crystals; Density of states
Unit 3 The Fermi function; Fermi-Dirac integrals; Carrier concentration vs. Fermi level; Carrier concentration vs. doping density; Carrier concentration vs. temperature
Unit 4 The Landauer approach; Current from the nanoscale to macroscale; Drift-diffusion equation; Recombination and generation
Unit 5 Mathematical formulation; Energy band diagrams; Quasi-Fermi levels; Minority carrier diffusion equation