Chapter 1– Semiconductor Fundamentals

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Electronic Materials

Chapter 1 Semiconductor Fundamentals


Electronic MaterialsThe goal of electronic materials is to generate and control the flow of an electrical current.Electronic materials include:Conductors: have low resistance which allows electrical current flowInsulators: have high resistance which suppresses electrical current flow (no current flow)Semiconductors: can allow or suppress electrical current flow2


ConductorsGood conductors have low resistance so electrons flow through them with ease.Best element conductors include:Copper, silver, gold, aluminum, & nickel Alloys are also good conductors:Brass & steel 3


Conductor Atomic StructureThe atomic structure of good conductors usually includes only one electron in their outer shell. It is called a valence electron. It is easily striped from the atom, producing current flow.

Copper Atom4


InsulatorsInsulators have a high resistance so current does not flow in them.Good insulators include:Glass, ceramic, plastics, & woodThe atoms are tightly bound to one another so electrons are difficult to strip away for current flow.5


Insulator Atomic StructureThe atomic structure of insulator usually includes seven electron in their outer shell. It is very pack thus current cant flow across the materials



SemiconductorsSemiconductors are materials that essentially can be conditioned to act as good conductors, or good insulators, or any thing in between.Common elements such as carbon, silicon, and germanium are semiconductors.Silicon is the best and most widely used semiconductor.7


Semiconductor Valence OrbitThe main characteristic of a semiconductor element is that it has four electrons in its outer or valence orbit.



Electron OrbitsOrbit NumberMaximum Electrons1223456Valence Orbit


Orbits closest to the nucleus fill firstElectricity at the Atomic Level18508


9The outside, or valence orbit, never has more than 8 electrons.

How many electrons are in the valence orbit? Pictorial Representation

CopperCu 29Is copper a conductor?Why?Example: Copper10


How many electrons are in the valence orbit?Is Sulfur a conductor or insulator?Why?Pictorial Representation

SulfurS 16Example: Sulfur11



Using periodic table, determine the types of material for:CalciumBismuthCobaltAntimony Justify your selection


SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALSemiconductors are solid materials, either non metallic compounds, which allow electrons to pass through them so that they conduct electricity in much the same way as a metal.

Atoms with fewer than 4 valence electrons are good conductors.Atoms with more than 4 valence electrons are an insulator.Atoms with four valence electrons are semiconductors.


Exercise 15 Material

ParametersConductorInsulatorSemiconductorResistance Value Conductivity LevelValence ElectronExamples

Fill in the blanks.

Cont.2 types of Semiconductor MaterialINTRINSIC SEMICONDUCTOR- A pure semiconductor - Pure semiconductors, by themselves, are not particularly useful- No free electrons areavailable since all the covalent bonds are complete. - Behaves like ainsulator. - Resistance of a semiconductor decreases with increase in temperature.EXTRINSIC SEMICONDUCTOR- The impure semiconductor- Impurity semiconductor 16

DOPINGprocess of adding impurity to a semiconductor to make it extrinsicsemiconductorincrease the conductivity of a semiconductorIntrinsic Semiconductor + IMPURITY = Extrinsic SemiconductorIMPURITY = DOPING AGENT2 types of Doping Agent- Pentavalent atom having five valence electrons (arsenic, antimony, phosphorous).These atoms are called donor atoms.- Trivalent atoms having three valence electrons (gallium, aluminum, boron). Theseatoms are called acceptor atoms.


N-type and P-type Material

Intrinsic Semiconductor + Pentavelent Atom = N-type Material

Intrinsic Semiconductor + Trivalent Atom = P-type Semiconductor


Majority and Minority CarrierP-type- holes are majority carriers - they are positively charged materials (++++)N-type: electrons are majority charge carriers they are negatively charged materials (-----)


P-N junction

MaterialsP-type materialN-type material

Material doped with acceptor

Material has high POSITIVE charge (holes) concentration

Majority Carrier POSITIVE (immoveable)Minority Carrier NEGATIVE(free) Material doped with donor

Material has high NEGATIVE charge (electrons) concentration

Majority Carrier NEGATIVE(immoveable)Minority Carrier POSITIVE(free)

P-N junction formationHappen when both materials are in close contact.

Electrons and holes (minority carrier) will move to p-n junction because different types of charge will attract to each otherThis will forms a dipole charge layer called depletion layerThus, there is a built-in voltage at the layer


P-N junction current-voltage characteristics According to Current Continuity Law (CCL) the current can only flow if all the charges move forming a closed loop with a proper polarity of supply.

P-N junction current-voltage characteristics

From the figure, negative terminal are connected to the P-type material and positive terminal are connected to N-type material.

What happen? - increase the minority carrier - width of the DL will increase and the majority carrier of the material will demolish which will increase the built in voltage

P-N junction current-voltage characteristics From the figure, negative terminal are connected to the N-type material and positive terminal are connected to P-type material.

What happen? - increase the majority carrier - width of the DL will decrease and at certain extend of time it will break and the built in voltage are decrease to zero thus all the charge in both material can move freely and create a closed loop path (CCL) for the current to pass through.

P-N junction current-voltage characteristics What can you relate on the previous slides?

FWD biased & RV biased