Study Programmes 2017-2018
WARNING : 2016-2017 version of the course specifications
Semiconductor devices
Duration :
30h Th, 30h Pr
Number of credits :
Master in biomedical engineering (120 ECTS)5
Master in electrical engineering (120 ECTS)5
Master in physical engineering (120 ECTS)5
Lecturer :
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). Ed. couverture souple : 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 .
Contacts :
Benoît Vanderheyden, B.Vanderheyden @