Skip navigation

MSE 37000  Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials

Credits and Contact Hours: 3 credits. Weekly Schedule for 15 weeks: three 50 minute lectures.

Instructors or Course Coordinators: E. Kvam.

Textbook: Class Notes and Solymar and Walsh, "Lectures on the Electrical Properties of Materials", 6-7th ed., Oxford University Press.

Specific Course Information

  1. Catalog Description: An introductory course to provide basic background on the behavior of materials; electronic band structure, electronic and ionic conduction, electronic processes in semiconductors, dielectric, optical, and magnetic properties, and superconductivity; emphasis is on the relation between the properties and the structural aspects of materials.
  2. Prerequisites: MSE 23000 and PHYS 24100.
  3. Course Status: MSE 37000 is a required course.

Specific Goals for the Course

1. All Students

A. Understand the physical origins of electronic, magnetic & optical properties of materials

  • Classical (Drude) theory of conduction
  • Schrödinger’s Equation and its solution in simple cases
  • Band theory & Free electron theory
  • Classical & quantum mechanical explanations of magnetic properties
  • Classical & quantum mechanical explanations of optical properties
  • Simplified quantum mechanical explanation of superconductivity

B. Understand the operational principles of basic solid-state devices

  • Bi-material junctions (the p-n junction, Ohmic & Schottky contacts)
  • Field effect transistors (Junction-FET, Metal-oxide-semiconductor-FET)
  • Light emitting diodes and lasers
  • Thin film based magnetic storage

C. Learn materials processing methods used in the solid-state device industry

  • Thin film deposition, lithography and patterning, bulk and epitaxial crystal growth, diffusion and doping, and packaging and assembly

D. Refine skills in the area of group presentations and reporting.

  • Prepare a short paper concerning a specific modern electronic device, describing the physics of operation, the materials processing used in fabrication and an outlook on the associated economic impact and market.
  • Present the findings of this paper to the class, as though communicating to a technically-trained supervisor the important scientific and business aspects of the field. 

2. Most Students

A. Make appropriate qualitative judgments regarding the effects of materials characteristics and/or processing variables on microstructure, composition, properties and device performance. Examples:

  • Understanding dopant effects on conductivity in semiconductors.
  • Understanding the relationship between alloy composition and band gap / optical properties in alloy semiconductors.
  • Proposing appropriate processing schemes for device creation.

B. Making appropriate connections between equations/calculations and physical phenomena. Examples:

  • Understanding how materials properties yield increased gain in transistors,
  • Understanding how band structure relates to variables in Schrödinger’s Equation.

3. Some Students

A. Perform “non-simple” calculations, analytically & numerically (using software packages).  Example:

  • Solutions to Schrödinger’s Equation for non-standard (but tractable) cases.

B. Understand the operation and basic physical mechanisms of advanced electronic devices. Examples:

  • Heterojunction bipolar transistors
  • Spintronics
  • Nanotube based transistors

C. Understand that some materials exhibit correlated electron behavior.

Relation of Course to Student Outcomes:

(MSE-1, ABET-a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to problems in materials engineering.

(MSE-5, ABET-e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems, particularly in the context of materials selection and design.

(MSE-7, ABET-g) an ability to exhibit effective oral and written communication skills.

(MSE-11, ABET-k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and experimental, computational and data analysis tools necessary for materials engineering practice.

Topics Covered: Ohm’s Law, Hall Effect, wave addition, wave function, orbitals, bonding, work function, field emission, bandgap, density of states, metals, intrinsic and doped semiconductors, semiconductor processing, p/n junctions, metal-semiconductor junctions, transistors, lasers, dielectric polarization, piezoelectricity, ferroelectricity, magnetism, Meissner effect.