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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Basics of Field Effect Transistors and Technology Scaling

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via edX


This online course is the later part of the Principle of Semiconductor Devices Professional Certificate Program.

MOSFET as the most important component in integrated circuits will be introduced in this course. We will explain the basic operating principle of MOS capacitor and its application in charge-coupled devices (CCD) and CMOS Active Pixel Sensor (APS) in modern digital cameras.

Based on the MOS capacitor theory, different MOSFET operation regions, including strong inversion, subthreshold region, linear region, and saturation region, will be described. The deficiency of classical MOSFET theory and the need for more advanced mobility degradation and carrier velocity saturation theory will be elaborated.

To bridge the knowledge of transistors with practical applications, we will explain Moore’s Law and the approach to transistor scaling. Some specific features in modern MOSFETs including silicide, strain engineering, shallow junction, high-k gate dielectrics, metal gate stack, and their fabrication processes will be explained. The operating principle of advanced MOSFET structures, such as FinFET, nanowire transistors, gate-all-around MOSFET and 2D transistors, will also be introduced.


Week 1: MOS capacitor charges and capacitances
Introduction to the MOS capacitor structures, its charge and capacitance characteristics

Week 2: Charge coupled device, CMOS active-pixel sensor and MOS capacitor with a source
The operation principle of charge coupled devices, CMOS active pixel sensor for digital camera applications. The effect of adding a source to the MOS capacitor.

Week 3: Classical MOSFET I-V characteristics
Derivation of the classical MOSFET equations and the subthreshold characteristics.

Week 4: Mobility degradation and carrier velocity saturation
Correction to the classical pinchoff model by including the effect of mobility degradation and carrier velocity saturation.

Week 5: CMOS device scaling and short channel MOSFET
The effect of transistor scaling, short channel effects and the problems of small transistor design.

Week 6: Non-traditional nano-CMOS transistors
Introduction to the state-of-the-art transistors structure including SOI technology, FinFET, multi-gate MOSFET, tunnelling transistor and transistors based on 2-D materials.

Week 7: Final Exam

Taught by

Mansun Chan


4.8 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

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  • Anonymous
    I took the course with an MSc in EE as a refresher and haven’t regretted it. A very high quality course that gives learners intuitive insight into the operating principles of modern semiconductor devices. Not too heavy on math but goes deep enough to give you the tools you need in practical engineering work. The animations and the visually engaging presentation style as well as the clear explanations and the comprehensive and challenging concept check questions and quizzes ensure the material sinks in solidly. The course also covers state-of-the-art CMOS technology and looks into future directions, topics I’d sorely missed from my previous studies. Hats off to the professor and the team behind this course. Fully recommended.
  • Anonymous
    I am an NIT Srinagar Student pursuing Masters in Microelectronics. I have found this course very useful & highly informative. This is one of the best online course I have come across that discusses MOSFETs in quite a detail with an introduction to various new research domain MOSFETs. I would recommend it for all those who are interested in MOSFET device physics & engineering. Also, I would like to request the lecturer of this course to further develop an advanced course on advanced MOSFET physics including TFET, CNTs, JLT, etc using Quantum/ NEGF Domain.
  • Anonymous
    I am an Electrical Engineering major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst going into my third year and will be taking a semiconductor physics course this fall. I used this class to prepare a little before hand and am glad that I did so. The animations were incredibly helpful and the questions were very thought provoking. I would only suggest less multiple choice questions and more that involve calculation and filling in a blank because I found myself getting lazy at times and guessing over and over on questions that I was struggling with.
  • Anonymous
    Thanks for the team effort. Learn a lot. Semiconductor is still toooooo difficult. From the course, still can get a vivid and clearer picture of transistor device from the fundamental as well as deep knowledges to state-of-art introduction to techniques with advantages and drawbacks. ps, quiz is instructive.
  • Anonymous
    The course animations were very helpful to clearly picture the MOSFET technology and different concepts about it. I used the auditory track and so I was not able to do the concept check questions which would have enhanced my understanding if they were unlocked. I recommend that you make them available for everyone instead of only for those who paid for the course.

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