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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.
Semiconductor Fundamentals is one course in a growing suite of unique, 1-credit-hour short courses being developed in an edX/Purdue University collaboration. Students may elect to pursue a verified certificate for this specific course alone or as one of the six courses needed for the edX/Purdue MicroMasters program in Nano-Science and Technology. For further information and other courses offered and planned, please see the Nano-Science and Technology page. Courses like this can also apply toward a Purdue University MSECE degree for students accepted into the full master’s program.
Week 1: Materials Properties and Doping
Energy levels to energy bands
Crystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous semiconductors
Properties of common semiconductors
Free carriers in semiconductors
Week 2: Rudiments of Quantum Mechanics
The wave equation
Quantum tunneling and reflection
Electron waves in crystals
Density of states
Week 3: Equilibrium Carrier Concentration
The Fermi function
Carrier concentration vs. Fermi level
Carrier concentration vs. doping density
Carrier concentration vs. temperature
Week 4: Carrier Transport, Generation, and Recombination
The Landauer approach
Current from the nanoscale to the macroscale
Week 5: The Semiconductor Equations
Energy band diagrams
Minority carrier diffusion equation
Mark S. Lundstrom, Bikram K. Mahajan and Woojin Ahn