2017-2018 / ELEN0004-1

Semiconductor devices


30h Th, 30h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in biomedical engineering (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in electrical engineering (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in physical engineering (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Benoît Vanderheyden

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

In this course, we introduce the fundamental physical concepts underlying semiconducting devices. We expose the physics of semiconducting materials and introduce the main transport models (drift-diffusion). These notions are then applied to analyze the electrical behavior and performances of various electronic components.
More precisely, the following elements are discussed:
crystal structure of semiconductors, energy bands, n- and p-dopings, Fermi distribution and Fermi sea, drift in an electrical field, in a magnetic field, diffusion, optical absorption, luminescence, excess carrier lifetime.
The concepts are illustrated by studying pn junctions (static equilibrium, direct and inverse biases), metal-semiconductor junctions, bipolar and field effect transistors, MOS capacitors.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

To be able to:

  • explain the physics of semiconducting junctions and transistors
  • understand and state the equations describing the basic phenomena underlying the drift-diffusion model,
  • know the orders of magnitude involved in thermal or optical generation of carriers, in their transport, their collection or their recombination,
  • assess the influence of the fundamental parameters involved in semiconductors on the electrical performances of devices.
The active participation in the exercice sessions helps the students in refining their reasoning and arguing one about it.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

It is recommended to have followed a course on analog electronics or to have read the first three chapters of the course "ELEN0075-1 - Analog electronics" in order to better grasp the general context of this course.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course is composed of "ex-cathedra" sessions (30 hours) and practical sessions (30 hours).
The "ex-cathedra" sessions are devoted to the description of the fundamental concepts of semiconductor physics, charge carrier generation, transport equations, and an illustration of these notions in semiconductor devices.
The practical sessions are devoted to applying the concepts on specific examples. Typically, an exercice illustrates a given mechanism, a genuine model, and relevant orders of magnitude. Students are invited to participate actively to these sessions.
An optional question/answer session is organized at the end of the quadrimester.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)


Recommended or required readings

  • Main and compulsory sources:
The slides from the ex-cathedra sessions and the exercice book are available at the "centrale des cours de l'AEES" and on the web site of the course. Complementary pieces of information are given during the course.

  • Secondary and optional sources (copies available at the library):
Streetman, Solid State Electronic Devices (Prentice Hall). Soft bound: ISBN 0130261017

Assessment methods and criteria

A written exam is organized during the January exam session. It starts with a theory part (1h30), which covers the theory concepts seen in the "ex cathedra" part and in the exercice sessions. It is followed by an exercice part (2h30), on problems similar to those seen in the exercice sessions.
The entire exam is 'closed book'. For the exercice part only, forms are distributed and calculators are required. Cell phones are forbidden for the entire exam.
The final note is computed as follows:
- theory part, 1/3 - exercice part, 2/3
The same rules apply for student having to take the exam in September.

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

The course is scheduled during the first quadrimester. For any additional information, consult http://www.montefiore.ulg.ac.be/~vdh/elen004.html .


Benoît Vanderheyden, B.Vanderheyden @ ulg.ac.be