Dec 09, 2022  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PH 3600 - Physics of Semiconductor Materials and Devices

3 lecture hours 2 lab hours 4 credits
Course Description
This subject is intended to provide students with the fundamentals of semiconductor physics and its application to common semiconductor devices. The course starts with an in-depth look at the theory of semiconductors including energy gap, Fermi-Dirac statistics, mobility of electrons and holes, influence of temperature on conductivity, doping, photoconductivity, drift and diffusion of charge carriers and the (Shockley) ideal diode equation. Then, properties of the abrupt p-n junction are studied and applied to various practical devices including the signal diode, zener diode, varactor diode, photo-diode, light-emitting diode, solar cell, bipolar junction transistor, and finally field effect transistors. The course has a strong laboratory component. About half the experiments illustrate fundamental properties of semiconductor materials and half explore the characteristics and properties of a variety of semiconductor devices. This course cannot be taken for credit by students who have credit for PH 361 . (prereq: PH 2030 or PH 2031 )
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Characterize the four cubic crystal types, relate lattice constant to atomic density and use Miller indices to identify crystal planes
  • Differentiate electron energy bands in metals, semiconductors and insulators
  • Calculate intrinsic carrier density in a semiconductor from the energy band gap and temperature
  • Relate majority and minority carrier concentrations to the doping density and Fermi level
  • Calculate electrical conductivity from charge carrier densities and mobilities and relate drift current to electric field and voltage
  • Determine majority carrier type, concentration and drift velocity from the Hall voltage, magnetic field and current
  • Predict resistance of a semiconductor from the incident light power, wavelength, band gap, recombination time and dimensions
  • For a p-n junction, calculate contact potential, capacitance and current in forward or reverse bias from the doping levels, band gap, dimensions, and applied voltage
  • Describe the basic operation of photodetectors, solar cells, LEDs and LASER diodes and determine the open circuit voltage, short circuit current and efficiency of a solar cell or photodiode from the doping levels, device dimensions and optical generation rate
  • Predict the common emitter current gain of a bipolar junction transistor (BJT) from the doping levels and device dimensions, identify regions of minority carrier diffusion and explain the Early effect
  • Determine the threshold voltage, channel conductance and saturation current of a MOSFET from the doping levels and device dimensions and explain how the gate and drain voltages influence the channel current

Prerequisites by Topic
  • Electric and magnetic fields
  • Electric potential
  • The Bohr atom
  • Basic quantum theory

Course Topics
  • Crystal structure (2 classes)
  • Energy band theory (1 class)
  • Charge carrier concentrations: Fermi statistics (3 classes)
  • Charge carrier drift and diffusion (3 classes)
  • Hall effect (1 class)
  • Thermistors and photoconductivity (2 classes)
  • P-n junction (5 classes)
  • Photonic p-n junction devices (3 classes)
  • Bipolar junction transistor (3 classes)
  • MOSFET (3 classes)
  • Device fabrication: photolithography and plasma processing (1 class)

Laboratory Topics
  • Hall effect
  • Majority carrier type and concentration using hot and four-point probes
  • Extrinsic to intrinsic conductivity transition with temperature
  • Band gap determination by photonic absorption: direct and indirect
  • Carrier lifetime in a CdS photocell
  • P-n junction reverse bias capacitance
  • BJT current gain and Early effect
  • MOSFET: linear and saturation characteristics
  • LED as photodetector and I-V characteristics of various two terminal devices: rectifiers, breakdown diodes, LEDs and solar cell

Dr. Richard Mett

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