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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Principle of Semiconductor Devices Part I: Semiconductors, PN Junctions and Bipolar Junction Transistors

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via edX


As a topic of study, semiconductor devices offer aunique challenge due to the complex mathematics involved. In this course, we takea more intuitive approach to explore the underlying concepts.Eschewing mathematics, we use engaging animations to help you visualize the working principles of many common semiconductor devices.

Whether you are completely new to the subject or an experienced engineer, thiscourse will give you a differentperspective and a new way to look at the behaviors of semiconductor devices.

Reducing the reliance of equations does not mean the depth of the material is sacrificed. In fact, the course provides evenmore in-depth explanations of key concepts.We shift the focus from quantitatively evaluating the behavior of semiconductor devices to intuitively visualizing the semiconductor device actions.

In addition, the courseoffers a widearray of content - from basic PN junctions to modern nano-electronic circuit and systems. Besides covering the existing technologies, the course also explores the development of the industry into the future.


Week 1: Intrinsic semiconductor materials
Introduction to the energy band diagram of a crystal and calculating the carrier concentration in the material.

Week 2: Doping and PN junction formation
The effect of doping and the formation of PN junctions.

Week 3: Current-voltage characteristics of PN junction diodes
Current-voltage characteristics and detailed carrier actions in a PN junction diode.

Week 4: Real PN junction characteristics, its model and design
The characteristics of real PN junction diodes, the charge and capacitance models, and the design strategy.

Week 5: PN junction optical properties and metal-semiconductor contacts
The optical responses of the PN junction; the working principles of optical detection, solar cells and LEDs; and the metal-semiconductor contacts.

Week 6: Basic operation of Bipolar Junction Transistor
Introduction to bipolar junction transistors, I-V characteristic and non-ideal effects.

Week 7: Real Bipolar Junction Transistor structures, switching characteristics and model
Switching characteristics of the Bipolar Junction Transistor, it circuit model and design strategy.

Week 8: Final Exam

Taught by

Mansun Chan


4.6 rating, based on 23 reviews

Start your review of Principle of Semiconductor Devices Part I: Semiconductors, PN Junctions and Bipolar Junction Transistors

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    First of all, I would like to thank you for the efforts in crafting the course. I understand it is quite time consuming. So great efforts for that. Please see feedback below. However, I'm extremely disappointed on how the course was structured. I don't...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Firstly I would like to thanks all the edx staff, especially course staff worked in this course and Mr. Mansun Chan, thanks for all their efforts, positive massage and replay and thanks for Mr. Mansun for his valued lectures and information.
    Secondly, I would say that I was very interested to finish both courses of semiconductor devices (part 1 & part 2), but it was hard to study both at the same time with my work, so the negative thing for me that both courses begun at the same time!!!; then I couldn't achieve the 2nd one.
    Now I'm very happy to complete all the materials of part 1 and get its certificate, and I hope that I have opportunity to complete part 2 and get its certificate too.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent content! I loved the animations and the concept of a water table. The equations were also clearly written out. There must have been a lot of effort put into the content.

    I had some issues with grading, actually - I found it difficult to complete the quizzes even after I pay attention. The quiz questions sometimes did not seem connected to the lecture materials. There was also too much time elapsed between attempts I feel. Better explanations for each option would be good as well.

    Thanks again for the course and once again, excellent and fascinating content! I learned a lot about p-n junctions.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Really cleared up the basics of semiconductors and associated devices for me.
    More can be done however, in terms of explanations for the test questions and live examples during lectures for solving problems or understanding why a certain answer is the way it is.
    The strongest aspect of the course is that is gives one a reliable architecture to THINK about semiconductors and semiconductor junctions. The ability to look at a new device and be able to immediately imagine its functioning in terms of band-diagrams was critical for me as a student and helped keep me motivated to continue learning.
  • Anonymous
    I have just finished the class. I have attended many online classes, and I have to say that, it is the best one among those I have attended. I can see the effort of the team to compose the content in a concise, concrete, easily understandable but in depth explanation. I am very happy with the experience. Great course and I would definitely recommend it to other people are interested in the subject.
  • Anonymous
    I just finished the course and would like to share my experience of taking it. When I first started taking the course, I could understand what the professor said easily. Thus, I finished the first 6 topics in fewer than 2 weeks. The experience was great...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    First of all, each of the explanations are clear and there's animation to illustrate the message. Everything started from a easily understood concept to a much complicated one, which makes the digestion much more easier since it gives the opportunity...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    i learnt a lot from this course. It is easy and user-friendly. The lecture videos are easy to understand and the question are very relevant to the course and helped me in my understanding on the various different chapters in the course.
  • Anonymous
    Very well structured course. Prof Mansun Chan is clear and concise in his teaching. Highly recommended for remote learning!
  • Profile image for Aman
    I like the way taught by the professor in a simple and easy manner to a very deep concepts..

    Mohammad Aman

  • Anonymous
    I have just finished the course. I attended similar class before, but I did not understand much due to the abstract equations used. Instead of using the tradition approach to derive everything in the mathematical domain, this class used a lot of drawing...
  • Aref Vakili

    Aref Vakili completed this course.

    I think that it is one of the best sources of semiconductor principles for the physicists and engineers around the world!
    The education method which has been selected is very comprehensive. I hope that you can continue to provide more and more courses in the field!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    A superb course with many challenging concepts. Mansun Chan is very clear, concise and detailed in his explanations of all the course material. I'm really grateful to have a generous amount of time to complete this course. Thank you Mansun Chan! The exam questions at the end of this course will stretch your understanding of many concepts and you will come out with a satisfying and deep understanding of all the topics covered in this challenging course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I am new to the subject and run into this course by accident. The course is great and the visual images helped a lot. Cannot expect more than that.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    i followed this course for free to review the basic of semi-conductors. it is an interesting course. however, as i did not upgrade to certificate, i do not know if there is a reference book mentioned there. Therefore, in case there was not a reference book or articles, i would like to have at least a reference book where i can find more mathematical analysis .
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course is very interesting, but I think to get better results, it would be necessary to give more examples during the lessons on how to solve the exercises. For example, to show how to solve a problem and then to give similar exercises in the tests.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I like how there is a "concept check" for each video to make sure we understood the content and the videos are short and concise, easy for user to listen and capture the concepts.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Very helpful animations, making learning the concepts more fun and intuitive! Coupled with the teaching style I can finally understand this topic better
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    great experience and content for students to get engaged! lessons are sufficient and engaging which allows me to be more motivated and focused.
  • Vinod Karanam

    Vinod Karanam completed this course.

    i learned a lot of stuff from this course and its reallhy help those who want to know actual working of basic building blocks

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