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109.

Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Syllabus

Texts and References:


1. Streetman & Banerjee : Solid State Electronic Devices, 6/e, PHI
2. S.M.Sze: Physics of Semiconductor Devices, 3/e, Wiley Eastern
3. V. Suresh Babu: Solid State Devices & Technology, Sanguine, Bangalore, 2005.

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109. Semiconductor Devices

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Crystal structure:
The structures of solid materials are described with three main categories. These
categories are:
1. Crystalline
2. Amorphous
3. Polycrystalline

Crystals are arranged in a periodic fashion. That is, there is some basic arrangement
of atoms that is repeated throughout the entire solid.
Amorphous have no periodic structure.
Polycrystalline are composed of many small regions of single-crystal material.
The crystal structure is known as the lattice or lattice structure.
The locations of each of the atoms in the lattice are known as the lattice points.
A unit cell is a volume-enclosing group of atoms that can be used to describe the
lattice by repeated translations.
A primitive cell is the smallest possible unit cell. Often primitive cells are not easy to
work with and thus we often use slightly larger unit cells to describe the crystals.
Cubic Lattices
Question:
There are three of very simple basic unit cells that are
Part B
often seen in crystalline structures. They are:
Define lattice. Explain about
1. Simple cubic (sc) structure
different lattice structure.
2. Body-centered cubic (bcc) structure
3. Face-centered cubic (fcc) structure

The sc structure has an atom located at each corner of the unit cell. The bcc lattice has
an additional atom at the center of the cube, and fcc unit cell has atoms at the eight

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corners and centered on the six faces. All three structures have different primitive
cells, but the same cubic unit cell.
Maximum packing fraction of sc lattice structure:
Consider the sc structure shown below:

The number of atoms per unit cell = 8 8 = 1 atom

Let a is inter-atomic spacing and r is the radius of an atom. Then relationship between
a and r is = 2. ---(1)
Question:
Consider unit cell as a sphere, then volume of
Part A
4
sphere = 1 3 3 . ---(2)
Give the relationship
between radius of atom
The volume of unit cell, = 3 . ---(3)
and lattice constant of

Packing fraction is given as =
. From (2) and (3) different lattice structures.

4
3
3
3

and substituting (1), =

4
3
3
8 3

= 0.524 = 52.4%

Maximum packing fraction of bcc lattice structure:


Consider the bcc structures shown below:

The number of atoms per unit cell = 8 8 + 1 = 2 atoms.

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Consider the face diagonal, by right angled triangle ABC,


=

()2 + ()2 = 2 + 2 = 2.

In right angled triangle ACD, =

()2 + ()2 =

22 + 2 = 3.
Also from bogy diagonal, = 4.
Then equating above equations, 4 = 3 --- (1)
Consider spheres in unit cell, then volume

of

sphere = 2 3 3 . ---(2)

The volume of unit cell, = 3 . ---(3)

Packing fraction is given as =


substituting (1), =

8
3 3
3
43 3

3
8

Question:
Part A
How many atoms are found
inside a unit cell of a sc, a bcc,
and an fcc crystal? How far
apart in terms of lattice
constant a are the nearest
neighbor atoms in each case,
measured from center to
center?
8

. From (2) and (3) = 3 3

and

= 0.6801 = 68.01%

Maximum packing fraction of fcc lattice structure:


Consider the fcc structures shown below:

Question:
Part B
Find the fraction of the fcc
unit cell volume filled with
hard spheres.

The number of atoms per unit cell = 8 8 + 2 6 = 4 atoms.

Consider the right angled triangle ADC, =

()2 + ()2 = 2 + 2 =

2.
Also, = 4.
Then equating above equations, 4 = 2 --- (1)
4

Consider spheres in unit cell, then volume of sphere = 4 3 3 . ---(2)

The volume of unit cell, = 3 . ---(3)

Packing fraction is given as =


substituting (1), =

16
3 2
3
43 3

=3

. From (2) and (3) =

16
3
3
3

and

= 0.7404 = 74.04%
Question:
Part A
Compare packing fraction of
different lattice structure.

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Problem:

Solution:
3

For bcc, =

The volume of sphere = 2 3 3 = 2 3 2.1653 3 = 85.01 3

The volume of unit cell, = 3 = 125 3

Packing fraction, =

. Given that = 5, then =

85.01
125

5 = 2.165
4

= 68.01%

Planes and Directions:


Planes
Question:
It is necessary to specify directions and planes in crystals.
Part B
Many material properties and processes vary with direction
How planes and
in the crystal.
directions are
Directions and planes are described using three integers representing?
called Miller Indices.
General rules for lattice directions, planes & Miller Indices: x, y, z are the axes (on
arbitrarily positioned origin). a, b, c are lattice parameters (length of unit cell along a
side) and h, k, l are the Miller indices for planes and directions expressed as planes (hkl) and directions - [hkl].
Conventions for naming: There are no commas between numbers. Negative values
are expressed with a bar over the number.
Steps to find Miller indices for plane are:
Question:
1. Find the intercepts of the plane with the crystal
Part A
axes and express these intercepts as integral
Give the steps to obtain
multiples of the basis vectors (the plane can be Miller indices.
moved in and out from the origin, retaining its
orientation).
2. Take the reciprocals of the three integers found in step1 and reduce these
to the smallest set of integers h, k, and l, which have the same relationship
to each other as the three reciprocals.
3. Label the plane (hkl).

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Many planes in a lattice are equivalent. The indices of such equivalent planes are
enclosed in braces { } instead of parentheses. Representation of cube faces by {100}
is shown below:

Problem 1:

Solution:
a)
Intercepts
Reciprocal
Smallest integers (h, k, l)
Plane: (111)

x
3
1/3
1

y
3
1/3
1

z
3
1/3
1

x
3
1/3
2

y
2
1/2
3

z
2
1/2
3

b)
Intercepts
Reciprocal
Smallest integers (h, k, l)
Plane: (233)

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Problem 2

Solution:
a)
Intercepts
Reciprocal
Smallest integers (h, k, l)
Plane: (011)

1/
0

y
a
1/a
1

z
a
1/a
1

x
a
1/a
1

y
a
1/a
1

1/
0

b)
Intercepts
Reciprocal
Smallest integers (h, k, l)
Plane: (110)
Directions
Direction in a lattice is expressed as a set of three integers with the same relationship
as the components of a vector in that direction.
Miller indices are also used for the representation of direction, but the three integers
are the components of the vector in that direction.
The direction is labeled with in [ ] and the equivalency is labeled in < >.
Examples:

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Energy bands and bonding forces in solids:


Electrons in solids also are restricted to certain energies and are not allowed at other
energies.
In the solid, the electron has a range (or band) of available energies.
The discrete energy levels of the isolated atom spread into bands of energies in the
solid because i) in the solid, the wave functions of electrons in neighboring atoms
overlap, thus, it affects the potential energy term and the boundary conditions in the
equation, and different energies are obtained in the solution, and ii) an electron is not
necessarily localized at a particular atom.
Potential energy and wave function are represented by Schrodinger wave equation.
Bonding forces
It is due to the interaction of electrons in neighboring atom.
Different types:
Question:
1. Ionic bonding
Part A
Consider NaCl, each Na atom is surrounded by 6 Cl
Compare different bonding
atoms. The crystal is made up of ions, where Na has forces.
+ve ion and Cl have ve ion.
Thus, an electrostatic attractive force is established between atoms, and the
balance is reached when this equals the net repulsive force.
In this bonding all the electrons are tightly bound to the atom.
Since there are no loosely bound electrons to participate in current flow NaCl
is a good insulator.
2. Metallic bonding
In metals, the whole solid made up of ions with closed shells immersed in a
sea of free electrons.
Coulomb attraction force between the ions and the electrons hold the lattice
together.
Free electrons are easy to move under the influence of an electric field, hence
the metal have high electrical conductivity.
3. Covalent bonding
Bonding occurs in diamond structure and compound semiconductor.
Each atom surrounded by four nearest neighbors, each having four electrons
in the outermost orbit.
Each atom shares its valence electrons with its four nearest neighbors.
The bonding forces arise from a quantum mechanical interaction (repulsive
force) between the shared electrons.
No free electron at 0K (insulator), but by thermal or optical excitation
electrons can excited from this bond and crystal behaves as conductor.

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Energy bands in solids:


As isolated atoms are brought together to form a solid, the electron wave functions
begin to overlap.
Various interactions occur, and, at the proper interatomic spacing for the crystal, the
forces of attraction and repulsion find a balance.
Due to Pauli Exclusion Principle, the discrete energy levels of individual atoms split
into bands belonging to the pair instead of to individual atoms.
In a solid, due to large number of atoms, the split energy levels for essentially
continuous bands of energy.
The splitting of individual energy levels to energy bands as Si atoms are brought
closer together is shown below:
Question:
Part B
Explain about the energy
bands of solid.

Si atom have an energy structure 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p2 in the ground state. Each atom
has available two 1s states, two 2s states, six 2p states, two 3s states, six 3p states, and
higher states.
For N atoms, there will be 2N, 2N, 6N, 2N, and 6N states of type 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, and
3p, respectively.
With a reduction in the interatomic spacing, these energy levels split into bands, and
the 2s and 2p bands merge into a single band having 8N available states.
As the interatomic spacing approaches the equilibrium spacing of diamond crystal,
this band splits into two bands separated by an energy gap, where no allowed energy
states for electrons exist forbidden gap.

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The upper band (called the conduction band) and the lower band (called the valence
band) contain 4N states each.
Metals, semiconductors and insulators
For electrons to move under an applied electric field there
Question:
must be states available to them.
Part B
A completely filled band cannot contribute to current
Compare metal,
transport; neither can a completely empty band.
semiconductor and insulator
Thus, semiconductors at 0 K are perfect insulators.
with the help of energy band
With thermal or optical excitation, some of these electrons diagram.
can be excited from the valence band to the conduction band, and then they can
contribute to the current transport process.
At temperatures other than 0 K, the magnitude of the band gap separates an insulator
from a semiconductor, e.g., at 300 K, (diamond) = 5eV (insulator), and (Silicon) =
1.12eV (semiconductor).
Number of electrons available for conduction can be increased greatly in
semiconductors by reasonable amount of thermal or optical energy.
In metals, the bands are either partially filled or they overlap thus, electrons and
empty states coexist great electrical conductivity.
The energy band diagram of metal, semiconductor and insulator at 0K are shown
below:

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Direct and indirect band gap semiconductors


The wave function of a single electron traveling through a perfectly periodic lattice is
assumed to be in the form of a plane wave moving in the x-direction with propagation
constant k, also called a wave vector.
In quantum mechanics, the electron momentum can be given by = , where is

Plancks constant and = 2

The space dependent wave function for the electron is

Where the function U(kx, x) modulates the wave function according to the periodicity
of the lattice.
The periodicity of different crystals may vary, so E-k relationship will also vary.
E-k diagram for GaAs and Si are shown below:
Question:
Part B
Discuss about direct and
indirect band gap
semiconductors.

Based on E-k relationship there are two types of semiconductors: direct band gap and
indirect band gap semiconductors.
For direct band gap semiconductor, the minima of the conduction band and the
maxima of the valence band occur at the same value of k (k = 0) and an electron
making the smallest energy transition from the conduction band to the valence band
can do so without a change in k.
For indirect band gap semiconductor, the minima of the conduction band and the
maxima of the valence band occur for different values of k, thus, the smallest energy
transition for an electron requires a change in momentum.
Electron falling from conduction band to an empty state in valence band
recombination. Recombination probability for direct band gap semiconductors is
much higher than that for indirect band gap semiconductors.
Direct band gap semiconductors give up the energy (Eg) released during
recombination in the form of light used for optoelectronic applications (e.g., LEDs
and LASERs).

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Recombination in indirect band gap semiconductors occurs through some defect


states within the band gap, and the energy is released in the form of heat given to the
lattice.

Variations in energy band in solids


The band structures of III-V ternary and quaternary compounds change as their
composition is varied.
There are three valleys in the conduction band: (at k = 0), L, and X.
In GaAs, the valley has the minimum energy (direct with E g = 1.43 eV) with very
few electrons residing in L and X valleys.
In AlAs, the X valley has minimum energy (indirect with Eg = 2.16 eV).

The position of these three valleys in ternary alloy AxGa1-xAs varies according to the
composition fraction of Al, and is shown below:

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For 0 x 0.38, valley has minimum energy with direct band gap. For x = 0,
material is GaAs and for x = 0.38, material is Al0.38Ga0.62As. Both have direct band
gap, but radiate different colour of light.
For x > 0.38, X valley has minimum energy with indirect band gap. For x = 1,
material is AlAs and energy release in the form of heat.

Charge carriers in semiconductors:


Electrons and Holes
For T > 0 K, there would be some electrons in the otherwise empty conduction band,
and some empty states in the otherwise filled valence band.

Question:
The empty states in the valence band are referred to as holes.
Part A
If the conduction band electron and the valence band hole are
How free electrons and holes
created by thermal excitation of a valence band electron to formed in crystals?
the conduction band, then they are called electron-hole pair
(EHP).
After excitation to the conduction band, an electron is surrounded by a large number
of empty states, e.g., the equilibrium number of EHPs at 300 K in Si is 1010/cm3,
whereas the Si atom density is 1022/cm3.
For every electron moving with a given velocity, there is an
Question:
equal and opposite electron motion somewhere else in the
Part A
band.
What is EHP? Explain.
Under an applied electric field, the net current is zero, since
for every electron j moving with a velocity vj, there is a corresponding electron j
moving with a velocity -vj.
In a unit volume, the current density J can be given by =
=1 = 0 , where
3
N is the number of electrons/cm in the band, and q is the electronic charge.
Now, if the jth electron is removed and a hole is created in the valence band, then the
net current density =
=1 = (+)
Thus, the current contribution of the empty state (hole), obtained by removing the jth
electron, is equivalent to that of a positively charged particle with velocity vj.
For simplicity, therefore, the empty states in the valence band are called holes, and
they are assigned positive charge and positive mass.

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The electron energy increases as one move up the conduction band, and electrons
gravitate downward towards the bottom of the conduction band.
On the other hand, hole energy increases as one moves down the valence band (since
holes have positive charges), and holes gravitate upwards towards the top of the
valence band.

Effective Mass
The "wave-particle" motion of electrons in a lattice is not the same as that for a free
electron, because of the interaction with the periodic potential of the lattice.
To still be able to treat these particles as "free", the rest mass has to be altered to take
into account the influence of the lattice.
The calculation of effective mass takes into account the shape of the energy bands in
three-dimensional k-space, taking appropriate averages over the various energy
bands.
The effective mass of an electron in a band with a given (E,k) relation is given by
=

2
2
2

Problem:
Find the dispersion relation (E-k relation) for a free electron, and,
thus, observe the relation between its rest mass and effective mass.
Solution:
For free electron, the electron momentum p is given by
= 0 ---(1)
Where m0 is rest mass of electron and v is velocity.
Also = --- (2),
Where =

Question:
Part B
Obtain the E-k relation, rest
mass and effective mass
relation. Explain.

, h is Plancks constant and k is wave vector.


1

We have energy = 2 2 , using (1) =

1 2

and = 2 . Then using (2),


0

1 2

= 2 2 ---(3)
0

This is E-k relation and is parabolic with wave vector.

Obtaining second derivative of (3) w.r.t k gives the relation of effective mass and rest
mass. Then

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2
0

and =

2
0

and =

2
2
2

= 0

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This states that for a free electron, the rest mass and the effective mass are one and
the same, which is due to the parabolic band structure. Most materials have nonparabolic E-k relation, and, thus, they have quite different rest mass and effective
mass for electrons.
Thus, the effective mass is an inverse function of the curvature of the E-k diagram:
weak curvature gives large mass, and strong curvature gives small mass.
The curvature

2
2

is positive at the conduction band minima; however, it is negative

at the valence band maxima. Thus, the electrons near the top of the valence band have
negative effective mass.
The electron and hole effective masses are denoted by and respectively:
Effective
Ge
Si
GaAs
mass /m0
mn *
0.55
1.1
0.067
mp *
0.37
0.56
0.48

Intrinsic Semiconductors
A perfect semiconductor crystal with no impurities or lattice defects.
No carriers at 0 K, since the valence band is completely full
Question:
and the conduction band is completely empty.
Part B
For T > 0 K, electrons are thermally excited from the valence
Write short notes on
band to the conduction band causes EHP generation. EHP intrinsic
generation takes place due to breaking of covalent bonds and semiconductors.
the required energy is Eg.
The EHP in the covalent bonding model of the Si crystal is shown below:

The excited electron becomes free and leaves behind an empty state (hole).
Since these carriers are created in pairs, the electron
Question:
concentration n/cm3 is always equal to the hole concentration
Part A
3
p/cm , and each of these is commonly referred to as the
Define intrinsic carrier
intrinsic carrier concentration (ni). Thus, for intrinsic concentration.
material n = p = ni.

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These carriers are not localized in the lattice; instead they spread out over several
lattice spacings, and are given by quantum mechanical probability distributions.
To maintain a steady-state carrier concentration, the carriers must also recombine at
the same rate at which they are generated. Recombination occurs when an electron
from the conduction band makes a transition (direct or indirect) to an empty state in
the valence band, thus annihilating (nullifying) the pair.
Let the generation rate of EHPs is gi (EHP/cm3-s) and
Question:
there combination rate is ri, then equilibrium requires
Part A
that ri = gi. Each of these rates is temperature
Explain the dependence of
dependent. For example gi(T) increases with rise in temperature on intrinsic
temperature, a new carrier concentration ni established carrier concentration.
such that the higher temperature recombination rate (April 2014)
ri(T) balances generation.
At any temperature, the rate of recombination is proportional to the equilibrium
concentration of electrons and holes, and can be given by = 0 0 = 2 = ,
where proportionality is constant depends on the mechanism by which the
recombination takes place, 0 and 0 are equilibrium concentration of electrons and
holes respectively.

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Question:
Extrinsic semiconductor
Part B
Instead of thermally generated carriers, it is possible to create
Explain about extrinsic
carriers in the semiconductor by purposely introducing semiconductors.
impurities into the crystal. This process is called doping.
Doping is a most common technique for varying the
Question:
conductivity of semiconductors. By doping, the crystal can
Part A
be made to have predominantly electrons or holes. Then
Define doping.
there are two types of extrinsic semiconductors: n-type
semiconductor (predominant in electrons) and p-type semiconductors (predominant in
holes).
When a crystal is doped such that the equilibrium concentrations of electrons (n0) and
holes (p0) are different from the intrinsic carrier concentration (ni), the material is said
to be extrinsic.
Doping creates additional levels within the band gap.
n-type semiconductor:
In Si or Ge, V group elements (e.g., P, As, Sb) doping introduce energy levels very
near (typically 0.03 - 0.06eV) the conduction band.
At 0K, these levels are filled with electrons, and very little thermal energy (50K to
100K) is required for these electrons to get excited to the conduction band. Since
these levels donate electrons to the conduction band, they are referred to as the donor
levels and the impurities are referred as donor impurities.
The covalent model of n-type Si is shown below:
Question:
Part B
Why electrons are referred as
majority carriers in n-type
semiconductors? Explain.

The energy band model of n-type semiconductor at 0K and 50K are shown below:

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Thus, Si doped with donor impurities can have a significant number of electrons in
the conduction band even when the temperature is not sufficiently high enough for
the intrinsic carriers to dominate, i.e., n0 >> (ni, p0) and the material is referred as ntype material, with electrons as majority carriers and holes as minority carriers.
p-type semiconductor
In Si or Ge, doping III group elements (e.g., B, Al, Ga, In) introduce energy levels
very near (typically 0.03-0.06 eV) the valence band.
At 0K, these levels are empty, and very little thermal energy
Question:
(50K to 100K) is required for electrons in the valence band
Part A
to get excited to these levels, and leave behind holes in the
Give the examples of donors
valence band. Since these levels accept electrons from the and acceptors. Why is it
valence band, they are referred to as the acceptor levels and called so?
the impurities are referred as acceptor impurities.
The covalent bond model of p-type Si is shown below:

The energy band model of p-type semiconductor at 0K and 50K are shown below:

Thus, Si doped with acceptor impurities can have a significant number of holes in the
valence band even at a very low temperature, i.e., p0 >> (ni, n0), and the material is
referred as p-type material, with holes as majority carriers and electrons as minority
carriers.
The extra electron for column V elements is loosely bound and it can be liberated
very easily ionization; thus, it is free to participate in current conduction. Similarly,
column III elements create holes in the valence band, and they can also participate in
current conduction.

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Carrier concentration
Obtaining semiconductor electrical properties and analyzing device behavior, it is
necessary to know the concentration of charge carriers free electrons and holes.
To obtain equations for the carrier concentrations an investigation of the distribution
of carriers over the available energy states is required. This is not difficult to
calculate, but the derivation requires some back ground in statistical methods.
Fermi-Dirac distribution
Fermi-Dirac distribution function is a function in Fermi-Dirac statistics.
Electrons in semiconductor obey Fermi-Dirac statics. By this the distribution of
electrons over a range of allowed energy levels at thermal equilibrium is given by
=

1
1+ ( )

where k is Boltzmann's constant (k = 8.62 x 10-5 eV/K = 1.38 x 10-23 J/K),


T is absolute temperature,
f(E) is Fermi-Dirac distribution function which gives the probability of the available
energy state at E will occupied by an electron,
EF is Fermi level and it represents an important quantity in the analysis of
semiconductor behavior.
1

If energy level E = EF, the occupation probability is =

A closer examination of f(E) indicates that at 0K the distribution takes the simple
rectangular form as shown below:

For T = 0K, distribution takes place in rectangular form. At T = 0K and E < EF,
=

1
1+

= 1. At T = 0K and E > EF, =

1
1+

1+ 0

=2

= 0.

This rectangular distribution shows that at 0K every available energy state up to EF is


filled with electrons, and all states above EF are empty.
If T > 0K, some probability exists for states above the Fermi level to be filled.
The Fermi function is symmetrical about EF for all temperatures.

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Proof:
Show that probability of a state E above EF is filled equals the probability that a state E below
EF is empty.
Solution:
Probability that state E above EF is filled E + EF =

1+ (E +E F E F )/kT

= 1+ E /kT

Probability that a state E below EF is filled EF E


Probability that a state E below EF is vacant 1- EF E = 1

1
E F E E F
kT
1+

1
E/kT
1
=
=
1 + E/kT 1 + E/kT 1 + E/kT
=1- EF E
= 1

ie, E + EF

Fermi-Dirac distribution for intrinsic semiconductors


Here the probability of occupancy in conduction band equals to probability of vacancy in
valance band. ie, EC =1- EV
Then Fermi level is at the middle and is also referred as intrinsic level.
Relative plot of Fermi-Dirac distribution and energy-band diagram of intrinsic
semiconductor is shown below:

Fermi-Dirac distribution for extrinsic semiconductors


For n-type semiconductors, probability of occupancy in the conduction band is much
greater than the probability of vacancy in valance band. ie 1 ( ).
To satisfy this, Fermi level EF moves closer to EC and (EC EF) gives the measure of
carrier concentration n.

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Relative plot of Fermi-Dirac distribution and energy-band diagram of n-type


semiconductor is shown below:

In case of p-type semiconductor, probability of vacancy in the conduction band is much


greater than the probability of occupancy in valance band. ie 1 ( ) .
Here the Fermi level EF is closer to EV and (EF - EV) gives the measure of carrier
concentration p.
Relative plot of Fermi-Dirac distribution and energy-band diagram of p-type
semiconductor is shown below:

From the above plots it is clear that EF is an important parameter to indicate the
probability of energy level distribution.

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Electron-Hole concentration at equilibrium


The concentration of electrons in the conduction band is given by
0 =

---(1)

where N(E) dE represents the density of states in the energy range dE.
The number of electrons per unit volume in the energy range dE is the product of the
density of states and the probability of occupancy f(E). Thus the total electron
concentration n0 is the integral of product of density of states and probability of
occupancy over the entire conduction band.
N(E) can be evaluated by quantum mechanics and Paulis exclusion principle and it is
shown that 1/2 . This shows that density of state in conduction band increases
with increase in temperature.
Fermi-Dirac distribution function becomes extremely small at large energies. Therefore,
f(E)N(E) rapidly decrease above EC and the electron concentration above the conduction
band is very low. And most of the electrons occupy the lowest available energy levels in
the conduction band.
The concentration of holes in the valance band is given by
0 =

(1

) --- (2)

In this (1- f(EV)) is the probability of vacancy of electron (or probability of occupancy of
hole) at valance band and it decrease rapidly below EV. Therefore holes occupy top most
available states in the valance band.
Graphical representation of carrier concentration in semiconductors
The carrier concentration in intrinsic semiconductor is as shown below:

For intrinsic semiconductors N(E)f(E) and N(E)[1-f(E)] are concentration of energy at


conduction band and valance band respectively. And are equal, so most of the carriers are
concentrating in the conduction band and valance band.

Department of ECE, VKCET

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

The carrier concentration in n-type semiconductor is as shown below:


Question:
Part A
Plot the energy band
diagram along with FermiDirac distribution function
for n-type semiconductor.
(April 2014)

The area under N(E)f(E) in the conduction band is the measure of electron concentration
n0. Similarly the area under N(E)[1-f(E)] in the valance band is the measure of hole
concentration p0.
For n-type semiconductors f(EC) >> [1-f(EV)]. Then N(E)f(E) is larger than N(E)[1-f(E)]
and n0 >> p0.
The carrier concentration in p-type semiconductor is as shown below:

For p-type semiconductors [1-f(EV)] >> f(EC). Then N(E)[1-f(E)] is larger than N(E)f(E)
and p0 >> n0.

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Analytical representation of carrier concentration in semiconductors


By simple notation, electron concentration n0 in the conduction band can represent by
product between density of states of energy in conduction band and Fermi-Dirac
distribution function.
Then 0 = ( ) ---(1),
where NC is the effective density of states in the conduction band and is given by
= 2

where is effective mass of electron.


We have
1
=
(
)
1+
1
Then =
( )
1+

---(2),

Question:
Part B
Derive the relation n0p0 =
ni2. (April 2014)

If , ie the electron concentration is not very


high.
Then ( ) 1 and we can approximate

1
( )

= ( )

---(3).

We can write electron concentration in conduction band at equilibrium is (by substituting


(3) to (1)),

= ( )

---(4)

Similarly hole concentration p0 in the valance band


0 = [1 ] ---(5),
where NV is the effective density of states in the valance band and is given by
= 2

---(6),

where is effective mass of hole.

Then 1 = 1 1+ ( )

1+ ( ) 1
1+ ( )

If , ie the hole concentration is not very high.


Then ( ) 1 and we can approximate
1 ( ) ---(7).
We can write hole concentration in valance band at equilibrium is (by substituting (7) to
(5)),

= ( )

( )

= 1+ ( )

---(8)
Equations (4) and (8) are the carrier concentration for any semiconductors. And also by
taking product of the two equations
0 0 = =
= ---(9),
where = and is called band gap energy difference.

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Page 24

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

At room temperature:

Si
Ge
GaAs
Eg (in eV)
1.12
0.66
1.424
For intrinsic semiconductors, carrier concentration are equal to intrinsic carrier
concentration ni and Fermi-level EF is same as intrinsic level Ei. Therefore, (4) and (8) can
be written as

0 = = ( )
0 = = ( )

---(10)
---(11)

Taking product of (10) and (11)

2 = ( ) ( ) = ( )
= ( ) ---(12)

Comparing (9) and (12), we can relate = and is


Question:
called mass action law. This law states that the product of
Part A
equilibrium electron and hole concentration in a
State mass action law.
semiconductor is a constant for any doping and is equal to
the square of the intrinsic carrier concentration at that temperature.
In intrinsic semiconductor NC = NV, therefore from(12)

2 = 2 ( )
= ( ) (2 ) ---(13).
This is the relationship between intrinsic concentration and energy band difference
At room temperature:
Si
Ge
GaAs
-3
10
13
ni (in cm )
1.45 10
2.4 10
1.75 106

Take (4) and (10), and find NC from (10) gives:

= ( )

Put this into (4),

0 = ( ) ( )
= ( ) ---(14)

Question:
Part B
( )
Analytically explain about
=
equilibrium carrier
( ) ( )
0 =

concentration in
( )
=
---(15)
semiconductors.
Equations (14) and (15) gives the relationship between equilibrium carrier concentration
and intrinsic carrier concentration. Also taking the product of (14) and (15) gives another
proof of mass action law, = .
Similarly using (8) and (11):

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Page 25

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

From (14), if EF moves away Ei towards conduction band, n0 increases exponentially over
ni. At the same time p0 decreases exponentially over ni. This will happen when donor
impurities are doped into the semiconductor and the material behaves like n-type
semiconductor.
Similarly from (15), if EF moves away Ei towards valance band, p0 increases
exponentially over ni. At the same time n0 decreases exponentially over ni. This will
happen when acceptor impurities are doped into the semiconductor and the material
behaves like p-type semiconductor.

Problem 1:

Solution:
Given As is as dopant, then donor concentration Nd >> ni and we can approximate
equilibrium carrier concentration 0 = 1017 3 .
By mass action law, 0 0 = 2 ,
2

then 0 = =

1.510 10

We have 0 =
= ln

= 2.25 103 3

10 17
( )

, from this ( )

= 0.026 ln

10 17
1.510 10

. Apply ln on both sides,

= 0.407

The resulting band diagram is:

Department of ECE, VKCET

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Problem 2:

Solution:
Given that NC = NV, Eg = 1.1eV, therefore EC - EF = 1.1eV
Donor concentration Nd = 1015/cm-3 n0, electron concentration
kT = 0.026eV
EC - Ed = 0.2eV, EC - EF = 0.25eV
Then EF - EV = 0.85eV
We have 0 = ( )
Then = 0 ( ) = 1015 e0.25 0.026 = 1.56 1019 cm3 =
Also 0 = ( ) = 1.56 1019 e0.85 0.026 = 8.71 104 cm3
We have 0 0 = 2 ,
then =
Problem 3:

0 0 = 1.56 1019 8.71 104 = 9.35 109 cm3

Solution:
Give that In acceptor atom concentration, then Na = 1016 /cm3.
Ea - EV = 0.16 eV, EF - EV = 0.26eV.

Fraction of Ea states filled = 1+ ( )

= 0.16 0.26 = 0.1


1

= 1+ (0.1)

0.026

= 0.979

Unionized In atoms 1 = 1 0.979 1016 = 2.1 1014 3


Problem 4:

Solution:

We have 0 = = ( )

and =

Equation above equations, ( )

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( )

(2 )

( )

(2)

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

( ) + ( ) (2)

3 4

Taking natural log on both sides,

= 4

So =

= 0.026 4

0.56
1.1

= 0.013

0.013

Temperature dependence of carrier concentration


The intrinsic carrier concentration = ( ) (2) . This shows that intrinsic
carrier concentration is a function of temperature.

Also = ln 0 , then Fermi level is also a function of temperature and hence

extrinsic carrier concentration is a function of temperature.


From the above equations, variation in temperature strongly dependent on ni because it is
dependent on the exponential quantity of temperature.

We can write =
and put = 2

( )

Then = 2

2
3

= (1 )
Where 1 = 2

2
2

Question:
Part A
Explain about the temperature
dependency of intrinsic
semiconductor.

4 ( ) (2)

( )
1

--- (1)

, = 2

(2 )

(2)

--- (2)

, this is not an exponential function of temperature.

Band gap energy of semiconductors decreases monotonically with increase in


temperature. Then = 0 1 , where 0 is band gap energy at 0K, b1 is rate of
decrease in band gap energy with increase in temperature. Put this equation to (2)
3

= (1 )

(0 1 )

(2 )

= (1 ) 2 (0 ) (2) 1
= 2 (0 ) (2 )
3

Where 2 = (1 )

Department of ECE, VKCET

and is less temperature dependent quantity.

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

The plot of ni verses T for different semiconductor is as shown below:

For extrinsic semiconductor, at 0K, the carrier concentration is zero. If temperature


increases carrier concentration increases due to the excitation of electron/hole in
donor/acceptor level. ie, n0 Nd+ (for n-type) and p0 Na- (for p-type), where Nd+ and
Na- are concentration of donor and acceptor ions respectively.

At low temperature, carrier concentration is equal to


Question:
ionized dopant concentration and ni is negligible. This
Part B
operating region of extrinsic semiconductor is called
Explain about the temperature
ionized region.
dependency of extrinsic
When temperature is increased to medium, all impurities semiconductor.
get ionized and ni increases, so that electron concentration.
ie n0 = Nd + ni. Comparing to Nd, ni is very less, then n0 Nd and is independent of
temperature. This operating region is called extrinsic region. (For p-type p0 = Na + ni
Na)
When temperature increases more than 500K, ni become more comparable to or greater
than the doping concentration. Then n0 ni and the minority carrier p0 also increases.
This region is referred as intrinsic region.
The carrier concentration of Si and Ge w.r.t T is shown below:

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Page 29

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Compensation and space charge neutrality:


Under equilibrium semiconductor remains neutral in charge.
ie, total +ve charge = total ve charge. Let Nd donors/cm3
Question:
and Na acceptors/cm3, then 0 + + = 0 + ---(1)
Part A
where + represents ionized donor concentration and
Explain about the charge
represents ionized acceptor concentration.
neutrality in semiconductor.
The above equation is called charge neutrality equation.
If temperature > 150K, almost all impurities get ionized in a uniformly doped
semiconductors, then
+ = and =
Therefore, 0 0 = ---(2)
Using mass action law and the above equation can be solved to get the carrier
concentration n0 and p0 in a semiconductor under thermal equilibrium.
Problem
A Ge sample is doped with 5x1013 As/cm3. Determine the carrier concentration and Fermi level
position at room temperature.
Solution:
Given that Nd = 5x1013/cm3, for Ge ni = 2.5x1013/cm-3 at room temperature.
ie Nd ni.
Use mass action law and charge neutrality condition for obtaining carrier concentration.
0 0 = 0
+ 0 = 0
2
+
= 0
0
02 0 2 = 0
2 + 42
0 =

2
5 10 5 1013 2 + 4 2.5 1013
0 =
2
13
3
0 = 6.035 10 (Neglect ve value)
13

Then 0 = =
0

2.510 13

6.03510 13

= 1.035 1013 3

Fermi level position


= ln

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0
6.035 1013
= 0.026 ln
= 0.023

2.5 1013

Page 30

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Carrier transport in semiconductors:


Carrier transport in semiconductors is mainly by two mechanisms: 1) drift 2) diffusion.
The current due to drift is by the movement of electrons/holes under an electric field and is
similar to current flow in a conductor. The current due to diffusion motion is due to the gradients
in carrier concentrations.
Drift velocity, current density and mobility of electrons
Under thermal equilibrium, carrier transport is in a constant motion with a mean thermal velocity
of electron =

At room temperature, the thermal motion of electron is in random scattering and due to this there
is no net motion along any direction for a group of n electrons/cm3. This is as shown below:

If an electric field is applied in x axis, each electron experiences a force from the field.
Thus the group of electrons has a net average velocity in x direction and this mean velocity is
called drift velocity.

If px is the total momentum of the group of n electrons/cm3, then the accelerating force due to
electric field is given by

= ---(1)

The accelerating force due to electric field is balanced in steady state by decelerating force of the
collision process by electrons.
Let N0 be the group of electrons at time t = 0 and N(t) be the number of electrons have to
undergone collision at time t. Then the rate of decrease in N(t) at any time is proportional to N(t).

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

ie,


=
, where

Solving this equation gives


mean free time.

The probability of collision of an electron in any time interval dt is


change in momentum due to collision is =

Then decelerating force due to collision

Therefore the differential

is constant average momentum.

This indicates that the electrons have constant average velocity


in ve x direction given by

< >=

---(2)

At steady state the sum of accelerating and decelerating effect must be zero, ie by (1) and (2)

and < > = ---(3)


where <

mean time between collisions is or

< >

---(4)

Question:
Part A
Define drift velocity of
carriers.

This represents the drift velocity of an average electron in


response to electric field. This usually much less than .
The current density due to electron drift is the number of electrons crossing unit area per unit time
multiplied by the charge of an electron. Its dimension is

Substituting (4),

By Ohms law, = ---(6)


Where =

---(5)

is called conductivity of electron in (-cm)-1

and can be written as

= ---(7)
Where =

Question:
Part A
Define conductivity and
mobility of semiconductors.

---(8) is called mobility of electron and is the representation of electron drift in a

material.

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Mobility can also defined as average drift velocity per unit electric field,

< >

cm2/V-s ---(9)

(Dimension cm-s-1 / V-cm gives cm2/V-s)


Then current density in terms of mobility is

= ---(10)

Similarly for hole,

=
or =

+< >

--- (11)

---(12)

= ---(12)

Then current density due to holes is

= ---(13)

If both carriers participate the flow of current, then overall current density is sum of (10) and (13)

= +
= ( + ) ---(14)
= ---(15)
Where = ( + ) ---(16) , conductivity due to carriers and resistivity =

-cm

Problem 1:

Solution:a)
We have = ( + )

At equilibrium state, = ( + )

Substituting =

= ( +
)

For minimum conductivity at electron concentration n0min

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) =

Page 33

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

=
Then

, hence proved.

Solution: b)
Minimum conductivity is due to the minimum concentration of carriers.
We have

= ( +
)

Then

= ( +

From above problem,

=
+

= +
=
Solution: c)

For Si ni = 1.5 x 1010 cm-3, and q = 1.6 x 10-19 C, n = 1350 cm2/V-s p = 480 cm2/V-s

= . . = .
Intrinsic conductivity = ( + )

= . . + = .
This shows that .

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Page 34

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Problem 2:
An intrinsic Ge sample at room temperature has resistivity of 50 -cm. The sample is uniformly
doped to the extent of 6 x 1013 Arsenic atoms/cm3 and 1014 Boron atoms/cm3. Find the conduction
current density if an electric field of 4 V/cm is applied across the sample. n = 3800 cm2/V-s; p =
1800 cm2/V-s.
(April 2014)
Solution:
Given doping concentrations are almost close to ni of Ge. So use charge neutrality and mass
action law to fine carrier concentratio.
Given intrinsic resistivity i = 50 -cm, n = 3800 cm2/V-s p = 1800 cm2/V-s, = 4 /
= 6 1013 3 = 1014 3
We have intrinsic conductivity = ( + )

=
( + )

1
=
=
= 2.23 1013 3
19
( + ) 1.6 10 50(3800 + 1800)
=

We have

0 0 =
2
0 =
0
2

0
=
0
02 ( )0 2 = 0
02 1014 6 1013 0 2.23 1013
0 =

0 =

=0

4 1013 (4 1013 )2 (4 2.23 1013 2 )


2
4 1013 1.6 1027 + 1.99 1027
=
2
4 1013 5.99 1013
=
2
13
3
= 4.99 10
(ignore ve result)
2.23 1013

4.99 1013

= 9.97 1012 3

= ( + )

= 1.6 1019 (9.97 1012 3800 + 4.99 1013 1800) 4


= 1.6 1019 3.79 1016 + 8.98 1016 4
= 81.72 103 = 0.0817 A/2

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Problem 3
The intrinsic carrier concentration of Si at 300K is 1.5 x 1010 cm-3, n = 1500 cm2/V-s and p = 450
cm2/V-s. The Si sample is doped with donors of concentration 5 x 1016 cm-3 and then compensated by
acceptor doping. The compensated Si sample has resistivity 1-cm. Determine acceptor concentration,
assuming that the mobility remains unchanged.
Solution:
Give Nd = 5 x 1016 cm-3 >> ni then n0 Nd = 5 x 1016 cm-3
Then resistivity due to n0 is =

= . = .

After compensation,
Case 1: Nd > Na

= = , where n0 is new carrier concentration.


=
= . /
.
=
= = . = . /
=

Case 2: Na > Nd

= = , where p0 is new carrier concentration.


=
= . /
.
=
= + = + . = . /
=

Effects of temperature and doping on mobility:


There are different mechanisms which limits the mobility of charge carriers in semiconductors.
Some mechanism are:
i) Lattice scattering
Question:
ii) Ionized impurity scattering
Part A
iii) Neutral impurity scattering
What
are
the
scattering
iv) Carrier-carrier scattering
Lattice scattering is due to the vibration of lattice. As mechanisms in a
temperature increases, lattice vibrates at a faster rate. Therefore semiconductor?
vibration due to this scattering increases with increase in temperature. Then mobility of carriers
decrease with rise in temperature, such that mobility due to lattice scattering L T-3/2.
Ionized impurity scattering is due to scattering of charge carriers with ionized impurities. This
type scattering increases with increase in doping, but decrease with increase in temperature. Then
mobility due to ionized impurity scattering is give by I T3/2.
Neutral impurity scattering is due to the difference in size of neutral impurity atom and host
lattice. This causes a strain to carriers in lattice and is negligible, because the number of neutral
impurities is very small.
Carrier-carrier scattering is due to the deflection of electron and hole during the transport. This is
negligible, because in extrinsic semiconductors any one of the carrier is major than other.
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Page 36

109. Semiconductor Devices


Variation of mobility with temperature:
At low temperature, mobility of carriers depends on ionized
impurity scattering, which increases with increase in
temperature.
At high temperature, mobility of carriers depends on lattice
scattering, which decreases with increase in temperature.
The plot of these situation is shown below:

Module 1

Question:
Part B
Explain temperature and
doping dependence of
mobility.

Variation of mobility with doping:


The concentration of impurity increases also increase the ionized impurity scattering and causes
decrease in mobility.
An appropriate plot of mobility as function of doping is shown below:

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Page 37

109. Semiconductor Devices


Constancy (invariance) of Fermi-level at equilibrium:
This concept states that there is no discontinuity or gradient can
arise in the equilibrium Fermi level EF.
Consider two materials in contact like Ge and Si, n-type Si and
p-type Si, a metal and semiconductor, heavily doped Si and
lightly doped Si, etc. as shown below:

Module 1

Question:
Part B
Show that the gradient in
Fermi-level is zero under
thermal equilibrium.
(April 2014)

The transfer of electrons from material 1 to 2 must be exactly balanced by the opposite transfer of
electrons from 2 to 1.
Let N1(E) is desity of state in material 1, N2(E) is density of states in material 2, f1(E) is
probability of state being filled at E in material 1, f2(E) is probability of state being filled at E in
material 2, EF1 is Fermi level of material 1 and EF2 is Fermi level of material 2.
At energy E, the rate of transfer of electrons from 1 to 2 is proportional to the number of filled
states at E in material 1 times the number of empty states at E in material 2.
ie rate from 1 to 2 1 1 . 2 ()[1 2 ] ---(1)
Similarly rate from 2 to 1 2 2 . 1 ()[1 1 ] ---(2)
At equilibrium these rate must be equal,
1 1 . 2 1 2 = 2 2 . 1 ()[1 1 ]
1 . 1 2 = 2 . [1 1 ]
1 1 2 = [2 2 1 ]
1 = 2 ---(3)
1
1
ie
=
1+ ( 1 )
1+ ( 2 )
This shows that EF1 = EF2 and no gradient exists in Fermi level at equilibrium or

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Page 38

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

High field effect:


Drift current is proportional to electric field and the proportionality constant is conductivity. But
this assumption is valid only for a range of field intensity .
For large (usually over 103 V/cm), there is a limitation to electron drift velocity vd and is same
as thermal velocity vth. This is due to hot carrier effect.
The limitation of carrier lift velocity to a constant at high electric field in Si and Ge is shown
below.

Hall effect:
This is mainly used to determine majority carrier concentration,
conductivity and mobility of semiconductor bar.
Consider a p-type bar with current Ix flowing in x-direction due
to the known applied voltage VCD across side C and D. There is
also electric field in x-direction and holes flow from C to D.
The length of the bar is L, width w and thickness t.

Question:
Part B
Explain Hall Effect. Explain
the procedure to measure
majority carrier concentration
and mobility of a
semiconductor specimen.

When a magnetic field with intensity Bz is applied in z-direction, the net force experienced in
hole due to the combined electric and magnetic field is given by
= + ( ) ---(1)

where =

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Page 39

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

We know that = = = = 0, then


= 0 0 + 0

And = ( )
The net force experienced by the hole is in y-direction and = ( ) ---(2)
This shows that an hole acceleration in y-direction is due to force and ( ).

Under steady state condition

= = 0
= ---(3)
Physically this electric field is set up when the holes are slightly shifted to ve y-direction
(towards A) due to magnetic field. The force due to this motion balances the force due to
magnetic field and the holes drift along the bar.
The establishment of electric field is known as Hall effect, the field is known as Hall field and
the voltage developing across A and B VAB is called Hall voltage.
= ---(4)
We have = +0

=
0
Then Hall field

= ---(5)
0

= ---(6)
This shows that Hall field is proportional to product of current density and magnetic field
1

intensity. The proportionality constant is called Hall coefficient and = .


0

For p-type bar Hall voltage and Hall coefficient are +ve, but for n-type bar both are ve.
From (5) and (4),

0 =

( . )
0 =
( )

---(7)

Since all quantities are measurable and the majority carrier concentration in semiconductor bar
can be measured by Hall Effect.
We know that the resistance of the bar

=
.
. .
=

---(8)

Here also all quantities are measurable and the resistivity of the semiconductor is measurable by
Hall Effect.

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Page 40

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

For p-type semiconductor, conductivity = +0 . Then

=
=
0

From (7) and (8)


=

1
( . )
( )


=
---(9)

Here also all quantities are measurable and the mobility of the semiconductor is also measurable
by Hall Effect.
Problem:

Solution:

Given = 5 = 5 105 /2 , Ix = 4mA, w = 0.25mm = 0.25x10-1cm, t = 50m =


50x10-4 cm, L = 2.5mm = 2.5x10-1cm, VAB = -2.5mV and VCD = 170mV.

VAB is ve, then the material is n-type.


410 3 510 5
1.610 19 5010 4 (2.510 3 )

= 1 1017 3

2.510 3 .

= 510 5 . = . 105 2 /

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Page 41

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Excess carriers in semiconductors:

Excess carriers are charge carriers in semiconductors generated by optical or electron


bombardment in addition to thermally generated carriers.

When a photon of energy greater than the band gap energy of semiconductor falls on it, the
energy of photon is absorbed by an electron in the valance band and is excited to the conduction
band. This results generation of an EHP and is the concentration of such carriers are equal.

The optically generated carrier concentration are in excess of the thermal equilibrium value and
= 0 +
= 0 +
=
where and are excess electron and hole concentration respectively.

If the light of intensity I0 falls on the sample of thickness l, then the amount of light transmitted
through it is given by
= 0 ---(1)
where is called the absorption coefficient and it depends on the the incident wave length or
energy

The absorption coefficient as a function of incident photon energy is shown by the following
figure.

If the incident energy is equal or greater than band gap energy, the velocity of excited electron
will be greater than mean thermal velocity.
The photo-generation and recombination process is illustrated below. During the recombination
of carriers energy is released from the semiconductor and is Eg.

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Page 42

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

The energy of radiation depends on the band gap energy as well as the recombination mechanism,
absorption coefficient etc.
The band gaps of some common semiconductors relative to the optical spectrum are shown
below.

Luminescence:
When an EHP is generated in semiconductor and they fall into its equilibrium states emits light
according to the band gap energy Eg. This property is called luminescence.
Different types of luminescence are:
1) Photoluminescence The EHPs are generated by
Question:
photon absorption and the radiation results from the
Part A
recombination of the excited carriers. E.g. Fluorescent
What
is
luminescence?
Explain
lamps.
2) Cathodoluminescence The EHPs are generated by different types in brief.
high-energy electron bombardment of the material and the radiation results from the
recombination of the excited carriers. E.g. LASERs
3) Electroluminescence The EHPs are generated by the applied current into the sample
and the radiation results from the recombination of the excited carriers. E.g. LEDs
Excess carrier and carrier life time:
When excess holes and electrons are created in a semiconductor,
Question:
there is an increase in conductivity.
Part B
If the excess carriers are generated by optical energy, the
Explain
the
transit
decay of
increase in conductivity is called photoconductivity.
excess carriers in a
Consider a semiconductor with direct recombination mechanism,
semiconductor with direct
the rate of decay of electrons at any time t is proportional to the
recombination. What is
number of electrons remaining at t and the number of holes, with
minority carrier life time?
some constant of proportionality for recombination r.
Then the net rate of change in the conduction band electron concentration is the thermal
generation rate minus the recombination rate
()

= 2 ()---(1)

Let assume that excess carriers are created at t = 0 are n and p (initial values). Then the
instantaneous concentration of carriers is also equal, i.e. n(t) = p(t).
We can write instantaneous values of carriers
= 0 + ()
= 0 + ()
Then using equation (1), we can write

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Page 43

109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

()
= 2

0 +

0 + ()

the rate of change of excess carrier concentration

() = 2 0 + 0 + ()

= 2 0 0 0 + 0 +
We know that

0 0 = 2
= ()
Then

() = (0 + 0 ) + 2

---(2)

Consider a low level injection of excess carrier

(0 + 0 )

And for p-type semiconductors p0 >> n0


Then

() = 0 ---(3)

Solution of this first order differential equation gives

() = 0
() = ---(4)
where

1
0

is called recombination life time of excess electron in p-type semiconductor

and also called minority carrier life time.

Similarly for excess hole recombination life time is

1
0

Steady state carrier generation


Under thermal equilibrium, the generation rate is balanced by
Question:
recombination rate, so that the equilibrium values of n0 and p0
Part B
are maintained. Then
Derive = = .
= 2 = 0 0 ---(1)
Consider a steady state optical generation rate gop and adding it
to thermal equilibrium, carrier concentration will increase to new steady state values. Then the
balance between generation and recombination is maintained by

+ = ---(2)
We know that
= 0 +
= 0 +
Then (2) becomes

+ = (0 + )(0 + )
+ = 0 0 + 0 + 0 + ---(3)

For direct recombination, =

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109. Semiconductor Devices


We have

Module 1

0 0 = 2 , and using (1), (3) becomes


= [(0 + 0 ) + 2 ]

Neglecting 2 ,

= (0 + 0 )
=
where

---(4)

( 0 + 0 )
Then excess carrier concentration

is called minority carrier life time in general.

= = ---(5)
Quasi Fermi-levels
If excess carriers are present in semiconductors, mass-action law
Question:
is not valid.
Part A
The Fermi-level EF is the representation of thermal equilibrium
Define
quasi
Fermi-level?
carrier concentration n0 and p0. When excess carriers are present,
the carrier concentration cannot be represented by the When do they exist?
equilibrium Fermi-level EF.
The separate Fermi-level to represent electron and hole concentration including excess carrier are
called Quasi Fermi-levels.
They are not stable levels; it changes to EF according to the concentration of excess carriers.
Quasi Fermi-level for electron is represented as Fn and for hole represented as Fp. Then the carrier
concentrations can be represented as

= ( )
= ( )

Recombination mechanisms
Excess carrier generation is also the function on
Question:
recombination/generation rate as shown in (5).
Part A
Different recombination mechanisms are:
What
are
the
different
1. Direct band to band recombination: An electron at
conduction band minimum directly falls into hole at recombination mechanisms?
valance band maximum, releasing the difference energy as a photon. This type of
mechanism is found in GaAs, InP, etc.
2. Indirect recombination: Due to the presence of impurity atoms, defects, etc. there is a
localized energy level deep in the band gap, away from the band edges. These levels act
as intermediate levels between conduction band and valance band, and this cause an
enhancement in the recombination process. The following figure shows the
recombination of EHP through a deep level.

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Here the energy releases according to Et. This type mechanism is found in Si, Ge etc.
3. Auger recombination: This takes place in three particle process and is possible in either
direct band to band or indirect recombination. In direct band recombination, an electron
in conduction band makes a transition to valance band and the energy of EHP is
transferred to nearby electron and is excited. The excited electron gets kinetic energy and
comes back to conduction band minimum.
4. Trap aided Auger recombination: In this the trapped electron makes a transition to the
valance band by giving its energy to an electron in the conduction band. This process
happens only in heavily doped n-type semiconductor.
Diffusion of charge carriers:
Due to the presence of excess carrier concentration in
semiconductor, the carrier concentrations vary with position in
the sample. Then charge carriers move from high concentration
to low concentration. This type of motion is called diffusion and
the current due to this motion is called diffusion current.
The spreading of pulse of electrons by diffusion is shown below:

Question:
Part B
Explain diffusion process.
Derive expression for diffusion
current.

If a pulse of electron injected at t = 0 and x = 0, it will spread out in time. At x = 0 excess


electrons are concentrated and time elapses these excess electrons spread out and finally the
carrier concentration becomes uniform throughout and n(x) become constant.
Derivation for diffusion current:
Consider one dimensional distribution of electrons n(x) as shown below:
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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Divide x into segments of width , which is referred as mean free path with n(x) evaluated at the
centre of each segment. The electrons in any segment have equal chances of movement towards
left or right.
Consider two segments with electron concentration n1 and n2 respectively.

Total number of electrons in segment 1 = 1


Total number of electrons in segment 2 = 2
where A is area of cross section of segment.
The net number of electrons crossing x0 from left to right is one mean free time
1
= (1 2 )
2

The rate of electron flow in +ve x-direction per unit are (electron flux density) is given by
() =



1
(1 2 )
=2

1
( 1 2 )
2

---(1)

is small differential length, then (1 2 ) can be written as

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

where x is the centre of segment 1 and x =


In the limit of small x we can write

=
where

2
2

()

---(2)

---(3) is called electron diffusion constant in cm2/s.


()

Similarly

Then the diffusion current density due to the flux density of the particle can be written as
=

---(4) where Dp is called hole diffusion constant

Using (2)
Similarly

()
= + ---(5)
= +

()
= ---(6)
The total current in semiconductor is the sum of diffusion and drift current due to electron and
hole and is

---(7)
The total current density

---(8)
The direction of current flow and carrier flow in a given electric field and carrier gradient is
shown below.

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Energy band diagram in a semiconductor with electric field


The energy bands of a uniformly doped n-type
semiconductor under thermal equilibrium condition
with an electric field along +ve x-direction bends
upward. It is due to the gradient in the electron energy.
Energy bands are flat when the applied field is zero.

Einsteins relations:
Consider semiconductor under electric field with
intensity () in x-direction, then the electrostatic
potential is given by

---(1)

Question:
Part A
How do the energy band
diagram change with
application of electric field?

Question:
Part B
State and derive Einsteins
relation.

Then the potential due to electron is

---(2)

By definition the electric field intensity

()

1 ()

---(3)
+
We know that all energies in the energy band bend equally in the given field, then
()
=
=
=

Then we can write


1
=
---(4)

Under thermal equilibrium, Jn = Jp = 0, but there is a diffusion of carrier due to
gradient and setup an electric field results a drift of carrier. Then we can write (in
case of electron)
= +

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

0
=0

0
0 =

= 0 +

---(5)

Using (4)
1

We know that 0 = ( )
Then 0 () = ( )
0

---(6)

= ( )

= 0 ()

---(7)

Substituting (7) into (6)

1
=
0 ()

We know that EF has no gradient and

---(8)

=0

Then (8) becomes

---(9)

Similarly

---(10)

In general

---(11)

This is shows that ratio between diffusion coefficient and mobility of carriers under
thermal equilibrium is a constant and equivalent to thermal voltage kT/q in V
This relation is called Einsteins relations.

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109. Semiconductor Devices

Module 1

Continuity equation:
(Assignment No. 1)

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