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ECE 340 - Semiconductor Devices

Last offered Fall 2024

Official Description

Modern device electronics: semiconductor fundamentals including crystals and energy bands, charge carriers (electrons and holes), doping, and transport, (drift and diffusion); unipolar devices with the MOS field effect transistor as a logic device and circuit considerations; basic concepts of generation-recombination and the P-N junction as capacitors and current rectifier with applications in photonics; bipolar transistors as amplifiers and switching three-terminal devices. Course Information: Prerequisite: (ECE 205 or ECE 210) and PHYS 214.

Related Faculty

Subject Area

  • Microelectronics and Photonics

Detailed Description and Outline

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with the essential background on semiconductor materials and a basic understanding of the following semiconductor electronic devices that will be required for a successful career in electrical engineering:

p-n Junctions

Light-Emitting Diodes/Photodetectors

Bipolar Junction Transistors

Field Effect Transistors

These topics are important to the professional electrical or computer engineer because these devices are utilized in almost every area of electrical or computer engineering. To be productive and remain employed throughout a 40+ year career in electrical or computer engineering, the electrical and computer engineer needs to understand the fundamentals of semiconductors and the operation and limitations of these devices. A successful engineer will be able to apply this knowledge in the different areas of electrical engineering, whether he or she works directly in circuits and system design, control systems, communications, computers, electromagnetic fields, bioengineering, power systems, directly in the semiconductor industry, or in areas yet to develop that will certainly rely heavily on semiconductor devices and/or integrated circuits.

The material in this course will provide the background that will give the student the ability to learn and understand the performance and limits of improved devices that will be required throughout your electrical or computer engineering career.

Computer Usage

If students have not already acquired the ability to write simple computer programs and produce computer generated graphs using Mathematica, Excel, Matlab, MathCAD, or some other program, this ability should be acquired in the first four weeks of the course.


Weekly homework are assigned on Friday and are turned in at the beginning of the next Friday class, unless otherwise specified.

Lab Projects


Lab Equipment


Lab Software


Topical Prerequisites



Solid State Electronic Devices

Ben G. Streetman and Sanjay Banerjee, Seventh Edition

Prentice Hall, 2000/2006


Semiconductor Device Fundamentals

Pierret, Robert F.

Addison-Wesley, 1996

Call No: 621.3817M91D1986

Author: Muller, R.S./Kamins, T.I.

Title: Device Electronics for Integrated Circuits, 2nd ed.

Call No: 621.381sa19f

Author: Sah, Chih-Tang

Title: Fundamentals of Solid-State Electronics

Call No: 621.38152si64s

Authors: Singh, Jasprit

Title: Semiconductor Devices, An Introduction

Call No: 621.38152P615s1989

Authors: Pierret, Robert F./Neudeck, G.W.

Title: Modular Series on Solid State Devices, Volumes 1-4

Call No: 537.622N26S

Authors: Neamen, Donald A.

Title: Semiconductor Physics and Devices

Modern Semiconductor Devices for Integrated Circuits‎

Chenming C. Hu

2009, First Edition, 384 pages (not yet in Grainger)

Free online textbook, see:

By Prof. Bart Van Zeghbroeck at the University of Colorado

Required, Elective, or Selected Elective


Course Goals

This course is required for both electrical engineering and computer engineering majors. The goals are to give the students an understanding of the elements of semiconductor physics and principles of semiconductor devices that (a) constitute the foundation required for an electrical engineering major to take follow-on courses, and (b) represent the essential basic knowledge of the operation and limitations of the three primary electronic devices, 1) p-n junctions, 2) bipolar transistors, and 3) field effect transistors, that either an electrical engineer or a computer engineer will find useful in maintaining currency with new developments in semiconductor devices and integrated circuits in an extended career in either field.

Instructional Objectives

By the time of exam No. 1 (after 17 lectures), the students should be able to do the following:

  1. Outline the classification of solids as metals, semiconductors, and insulators and distinguish direct and indirect semiconductors. (1)
  2. Determine relative magnitudes of the effective mass of electrons and holes from an E(k) diagram. (1)
  3. Calculate the carrier concentration in intrinsic semiconductors. (1)
  4. Apply the Fermi-Dirac distribution function to determine the occupation of electron and hole states in a semiconductor. (1)
  5. Calculate the electron and hole concentrations if the Fermi level is given; determine the Fermi level in a semiconductor if the carrier concentration is given. (1)
  6. Determine the variation of electron and hole mobility in a semiconductor with temperature, impurity concentration, and electrical field. (1)
  7. Apply the concept of compensation and space charge neutrality to calculate the electron and hole concentrations in compensated semiconductor samples. (1)
  8. Determine the current density and resistivity from given carrier densities and mobilites. (1)
  9. Calculate the recombination characteristics and excess carrier concentrations as a function of time for both low level and high level injection conditions in a semiconductor. (1)
  10. Use quasi-Fermi levels to calculate the non-equilibrium concentrations of electrons and holes in a semiconductor under uniform photoexcitation. (1)
  11. Calculate the drift and diffusion components of electron and hole currents. (1)
  12. Calculate the diffusion coefficients from given values of carrier mobility through the Einstein’s relationship and determine the built-in field in a non-uniformly doped sample. (1)

By the time of Exam No.2 (after 32 lectures), the students should be able to do all of the items listed under A, plus the following:

  1. Calculate the contact potential of a p-n junction. (1)
  2. Estimate the actual carrier concentration in the depletion region of a p-n junction in equilibrium. (1)
  3. Calculate the maximum electrical field in a p-n junction in equilibrium. (1)
  4. Distinguish between the current conduction mechanisms in forward and reverse biased diodes. (1)
  5. Calculate the minority and majority carrier currents in a forward or reverse biased p-n junction diode. (1)
  6. Predict the breakdown voltage of a p+-n junction and distinguish whether it is due to avalanche breakdown or Zener tunneling. (1)
  7. Calculate the charge storage delay time in switching p-n junction diodes. (1)
  8. Calculate the capacitance of a reverse biased p-n junction diode. (1)
  9. Calculate the capacitance of a forward biased p-n junction diode. (1)
  10. Predict whether a metal-semiconductor contact will be a rectifying contact or an ohmic contact based on the metal work function and the semiconductor electron affinity and doping. (1)
  11. Calculate the electrical field and potential drop across the neutral regions of wide base, forward biased p+-n junction diode. (1)
  12. Calculate the voltage drop across the quasi-neutral base of a forward biased narrow base p+-n junction diode. (1)
  13. Calculate the excess carrier concentrations at the boundaries between the space-charge region and the neutral n- and p-type regions of a p-n junction for either forward or reverse bias. (1)

By the time of the Final Exam, after 44 class periods, the students should be able to do all of the items listed under A and B, plus the following:

  1. Calculate the terminal parameters of a BJT in terms of the material properties and device structure. (1)
  2. Estimate the b of a BJT and rank-order the internal currents which limit the  of the transistor. (1)
  3. Determine the rank order of the electrical fields in the different regions of a BJT in forward active bias. (1)
  4. Calculate the threshold voltage of an ideal MOS capacitor. (1,6)
  5. Predict the C-V characteristics of an MOS capacitor. (1,6)
  6. Calculate the inversion charge in an MOS capacitor as a function of gate and drain bias voltage. (1,6)
  7. Estimate the drain current of an MOS transistor above threshold for low drain voltage. (1,6)
  8. Estimate the drain current of an MOS transistor at pinch-off. (1,6)
  9. Distinguish whether a MOSFET with a particular structure will operate as an enhancement or depletion mode device. (1,6)
  10. Determine the short-circuit current and open-circuit voltage for an illuminated p/n junction solar cell. (1,6)
Semiconductor ElectronicsA59020DIS31200 - 1250 M W F  1015 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg  John Dallesasse
Semiconductor ElectronicsB58224OD31000 - 1050 M W F    Matthew Gilbert
Semiconductor ElectronicsD58225DIS31100 - 1150 M W F  3013 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg Wenjuan Zhu