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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Solid State Electr. & Semiconductor Devices
Module Code EE463
School School of Electronic Engineering
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Patrick McNally
Semester 2: Patrick McNally
Autumn: Patrick McNally
Module TeachersPatrick McNally
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The operation of modern semiconductor devices is underpinned by a good knowledge of the physics of solid-state materials and electronics. This module is motivated by the need to link physical models with modern device operation. The module uses basic quantum mechanical physical principles to explain the properties of materials of interest in electronic engineering practice. A knowledge of the bonding between atoms is essential to understand the behaviour of solids and their electronic properties, which distinguish conductors from semiconductors and insulators. These impact on the electronic properties of materials, which in turn control the operation of electronic devices currently used and under development. Building on this foundation of solid-state physics the module introduces the student to the basic parameters which control the behaviour of electronic devices, such as diodes, bipolar transistors, MOSFETs and lasers. The phenomena which occur in non-idealized devices are studied and the behaviour of real devices is examined in the light of these phenomena.

Learning Outcomes

1. Differentiate between simple cubic, face centred cubic and body centred cubic crystaline structures.
2. Describe electrical conduction in metals using the Drude model.
3. Apply the Schrodinger wave equation (SWE) to explain quantum mechanical phenomena such as tunnelling.
4. Describe the behaviour of electrons in a potential well and extend this knowledge to the motion of electrons in a periodic structure.
5. Differentiate between insulators, semiconductors and metals utilising concepts such as bandstructure, Fermi-Dirac statistics, effective mass etc.
6. Calculate the position of the extrinsic Fermi Level in doped semiconductors.
7. Explain Schottky, Ohmic and Neutral contacts; design such junctions and calculate the depletion region widths.
8. Explain and calculate the I-V characteristics of pn junctions, including the calculation of diffusion and drift contributions to currents, and transient charge storage phenomena.
9. Explain the operation of bipolar junction transistors (BJT) using the Ebers-Moll model.
10. Describe MOSFET I-V and switching characteristics.
11. Explain the basic operation of a solar cell device.
12. Explain the basic operation of the laser.
13. Explain how real devices are fabricated, including critical semiconductor wafer processing steps.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture36Formal iectures: synchronous and asynchronous
Fieldwork20Laboratory analysis in support of class lectures.
Assignment Completion60Design Projects 1 & 2 in support of class lectures.
Independent Study72Independent study and learning
Total Workload: 188

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Indicative Syllabus
Crystal Structure. Atoms, lattices, symmetries, crystals. Common systems: simple cubic, face centred cubic and body centred cubic crystaline structures. The Drude model of electronic conduction. Breakdown of the Drude model and the need for quantum mechanics. The Schroedinger Wave Equation: Particle in a box. Tunnelling. Electron Waves and the periodic lattice potential. Band structure, Fermi-Dirac statistics, effective mass. Intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors. Impact of doping. Metal-Semiconductor Contacts. Depletion region widths. PN Junctions. I-V characteristics. Calculation of diffusion and drift contributions to currents, and transient charge storage. Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs). The Ebers-Moll model. Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors (MOSFETs). I-V and switching characteristics. Advanced device concepts: Solar cell and lasers. Semiconductor device fabrication. Oxides, metals, doping, etch and deposition techniques, interconnect, packaging.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Laboratory PortfolioA series of two laboratory-based exercises with a particular focus on the fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics (Lab #1: the measurement of the Photoelectric Effect) and the operation of metal-semiconductor junctions (Lab #2: characterisation and analysis of Schottky diodes and the implications of the ideality factor).20%n/a
AssignmentA substantial Design Project, which probes the student's ability to assimilate material learned in class in order to meet a strict set of design rules, which would exist in a manufacturing company. Fundamental materials device physics (doping) is tied to device design, e.g. chose doping regimes in a silicon epilayer structure, in order to implement a functioning junction-based device. This device design is done in the context of nanofabrication steps such as ion implantation, diffusion profiles, layout, etc. There is NO SINGLE CORRECT design and it is expected that each student design will be individual.40%n/a
AssignmentA substantial Design Project, which probes the student's ability to assimilate material learned in class in order to meet a strict set of design rules, which would exist in a semiconductor device fabrication. In this situation the students will design a functioning transistor device which must meet a series of breakdown, resistance and gain specifications. The students are supplied with a nominal set of process specifications, e.g. minimum tolerances for junction depths, highest effective doping that can be manufactured. After the students have completed their device design, a series of additional questions will be answered to probe their understanding of the implications of altering design.40%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • S. O. Kasap: 2006, Principles of Electronic Materials and Devices, 3rd, McGraw-Hill, Boston, USA, 978-0073104645
  • Simon M. Sze & Ming-Kwei Lee: 2012, Semiconductor Devices: Physics and Technology, 3rd International Student Version, John Wiley & Sons, USA, 978-0470873670
  • Kevin F. Brennan: 2010, Introduction to Semiconductor Devices: For Computing and Telecommunications Applications, 1st, Cambridge University Press, UK, 978-0-521-15361-4
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
ECEBEng Electronic & Computer Engineering
ECEIBEng Electronic & Computer Engineering
ECSAStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECSAOStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECTBSc in Electronic & Comp.Technology
MCMECMicro-Credential Modules Eng & Comp
MECEMEng Electronic & Computer Engineering
MEQMasters Engineering Qualifier Course
SMPECSingle Module Programme (Eng & Comp)

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