PHT.301 Physics of Semiconductor Devices
Semiconductor devices are widely used in computation and control systems. Computers, telephones, medical instruments, automobiles, and household applicances make heavy use of semiconductors. This course explains the how semiconductor devices work. Before the devices themselves are discussed, a few concepts of solid state physics will be presented. Solid state physics is the study of how atoms arrange themselves into solids and what properties these solids have. Properties that can be calculated using the principles of solid state physics include electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, elasticity, yield strength, speed of sound, dielectric constant, magnetism, and piezoelectricity.
A proper understanding of the electronic properties of materials is only possible when the electrons are described quantum mechanically. Therefore, a brief discussion of quantum mechanics will be necessary. After a few principles of quantum mechanics are introduced, the electronic properties of metals, insulators, and semiconductors will be described. Electronic devices typically consist of different materials and the behavior of the electrons at the interfaces between the materials is very important. The properties of electronic materials and the interfaces between electronic materials can be used to explain the behavior of a variety of semiconductor devices such as light emitting diodes, solid state lasers, sensors, bipolar transistors, and field effect transistors. A device that is used extensively in integrated circuits is the MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor). We will spend several weeks discussing the properties of MOSFETs.