From smartphones to satellites, semiconductors are everywhere. Tying together physics, chemistry, and electrical engineering, this easy-to-follow introduction provides the background needed to understand devices such as transistors and solar cells.
This course provides the essential foundations required to understand the operation of semiconductor devices such as transistors, diodes, solar cells, light-emitting devices, and more. The material will primarily appeal to electrical engineering students whose interests are in applications of semiconductor devices in circuits and systems. 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.
Students taking this course will be required to complete two (2) proctored exams using the edX online Proctortrack software.
Completed exams will be scanned and sent using Gradescope for grading by Professor Lundstrom.
During the proctored exams, this course will follow the Purdue University ECE policy, the calculator must be a Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS scientific calculator. ONLY the Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS scientific calculator will be allowed.
What will you learn
Students will learn about the following specific topics:
- energy bands
- band gaps
- effective masses
- electrons and holes
- basics of quantum mechanics
- the Fermi function
- the density-of-states
- intrinsic carrier density
- doping and carrier concentrations
- carrier transport
- quasi-Fermi levels
- the semiconductor equations
- energy band diagrams
Among the important learning objectives, the course will introduce learners to the process of drawing and interpreting energy band diagrams. Energy band diagrams are a powerful, conceptual way to qualitatively understand the operation of semiconductor devices. In a concise way, they encapsulate most of the device-relevant specifics of semiconductor physics. Drawing and interpreting an energy band diagram is the first step in understanding the operation of a device.
This course material is typically covered in the first few weeks of an introductory semiconductor device course, but this class provides a fresh perspective informed by new understanding of electronics at the nanoscale.