Sie sind auf Seite 1von 8

The Doping of Semiconductors

The addition of a small percentage of foreign atoms in the

regular crystal lattice of silicon or germanium produces
lattice dramatic changes in their electrical properties,
producing n-type and p-type semiconductors.
Pentavalent impurities:
Impurity atoms with 5 valence electrons produce n-type
semiconductors by contributing extra electrons.

Trivalent impurities:
Impurity atoms with 3 valence electrons produce p-type
semiconductors by producing a "hole" or electron deficiency.
P- and N- Type Semiconductors

N-Type Semiconductor

The addition of pentavalent impurities such as antimony,

arsenic or phosphorous contributes free electrons, greatly
increasing the conductivity of the intrinsic semiconductor.
Phosphorous may be added by diffusion of phosphine gas.

P-Type Semiconductor
The addition of trivalent impurities such as boron, aluminum or gallium to an intrinsic
semiconductor creates deficiencies of valence electrons, called "holes".

It is typical to use B2H6 diborane gas to diffuse boron into the silicon material.

Bands for Doped Semiconductors

The application of band theory to n-type and p-type semiconductors shows that extra levels have
been added by the impurities. In n-type material there are electrons energy levels near the top of
the band gap so that they can be easily excited into the conduction band. In p-type material, extra
holes in the band gap allow excitation of valence band electrons, leaving mobile holes in the
valence band.

Silicon Lattice
Silicon atoms form covalent bonds and can crystallize into a regular lattice. The illustration
below is a simplified sketch; the actual crystal structure of silicon is a diamond lattice. This
crystal is called an intrinsic semiconductor and can conduct a small amount of current.

The main point here is that a silicon atom has four electrons which it can share in covalent bonds
with its neighbors. These simplified diagrams do not do justice to the nature of that sharing since
any one silicon atom will be influenced by more than four other silicon atoms, as may be
appreciated by looking at the

Silicon Crystal Structure

The above illustration shows the arrangement of the
silicon atoms in a unit cell, with the numbers
indicating the height of the atom above the base of the
after Kittel cube as a fraction of the cell dimension.

Silicon crystallizes in the same pattern as diamond, in a structure which Ashcroft and Mermin
call "two interpenetrating face-centered cubic" primitive lattices. The lines between silicon atoms
in the lattice illustration indicate nearest-neighbor bonds. The cube side for silicon is 0.543 nm.
Germanium has the same diamond structure with a cell dimension of .566 nm.

Intrinsic Semiconductor

A silicon crystal is different from an insulator because at any temperature above absolute zero
temperature, there is a finite probability that an electron in the lattice will be knocked loose from
its position, leaving behind an electron deficiency called a "hole".

If a voltage is applied, then both the electron and the hole can contribute to a small current flow.

The conductivity of a semiconductor can be modeled

in terms of the band theory of solids. The band model
of a semiconductor suggests that at ordinary
temperatures there is a finite possibility that electrons
can reach the conduction band and contribute to
electrical conduction.
The term intrinsic here distinguishes between the
properties of pure "intrinsic" silicon and the
dramatically different properties of doped n-type or p-
type semiconductors.

Valence Electrons

The electrons in the outermost shell of an atom are called valence electrons; they dictate the
nature of the chemical reactions of the atom and largely determine the electrical nature of solid
matter. The electrical properties of matter are pictured in the band theory of solids in terms of
how much energy it takes to free a valence electron.

In solid state electronics, either pure silicon or germanium may be

used as the intrinsic semiconductor which forms the starting point for
fabrication. Each has four valence electrons, but germanium will at a
given temperature have more free electrons and a higher conductivity.
Silicon is by far the more widely used semiconductor for electronics,
partly because it can be used at much higher temperatures than

In solid state electronics, either pure silicon or germanium may be used as
the intrinsic semiconductor which forms the starting point for fabrication.
Each has four valence electrons, but germanium will at a given temperature
have more free electrons and a higher conductivity. Silicon is by far the
more widely used semiconductor for electronics, partly because it can be
used at much higher temperatures than germanium.


The property of semiconductors that makes them most useful for constructing electronic
devices is that their conductivity may easily be modified by introducing impurities into their
crystal lattice. The process of adding controlled impurities to a semiconductor is known as
doping. The amount of impurity, or dopant, added to an intrinsic (pure) semiconductor
varies its level of conductivity. Doped semiconductors are often referred to as extrinsic.


The materials chosen as suitable dopants depend on the atomic properties of both the dopant
and the material to be doped. In general, dopants that produce the desired controlled
changes are classified as either electron acceptors or donors. A donor atom that activates
(that is, becomes incorporated into the crystal lattice) donates weakly-bound valence
electrons to the material, creating excess negative charge carriers. These weakly-bound
electrons can move about in the crystal lattice relatively freely and can facilitate conduction
in the presence of an electric field. (The donor atoms introduce some states under, but very
close to the conduction band edge. Electrons at these states can be easily excited to
conduction band, becoming free electrons, at room temperature.) Conversely, an activated
acceptor produces a hole. Semiconductors doped with donor impurities are called n-type,
while those doped with acceptor impurities are known as p-type. The n and p type
designations indicate which charge carrier acts as the material's majority carrier. The
opposite carrier is called the minority carrier, which exists due to thermal excitation at a
much lower concentration compared to the majority carrier.

For example, the pure semiconductor silicon has four valence electrons. In silicon, the most
common dopants are IUPAC group 13 (commonly known as group III) and group 15
(commonly known as group V) elements. Group 13 elements all contain three valence
electrons, causing them to function as acceptors when used to dope silicon. Group 15
elements have five valence electrons, which allow them to act as a donor. Therefore, a
silicon crystal doped with boron creates a p-type semiconductor whereas one doped with
phosphorus results in an n-type material.
Carrier concentration

The concentration of dopant introduced to an intrinsic semiconductor determines its

concentration and indirectly affects many of its electrical properties. The most important
factor is doping that directly affects is the material's carrier concentration. In an intrinsic
semiconductor under thermal equilibrium, the concentration of electrons and holes is
equivalent. That is,

n = p = ni

Where n is the concentration of conducting electrons, p is the electron hole

concentration, and ni is the material's intrinsic carrier concentration. Intrinsic carrier
concentration varies between materials and is dependent on temperature. Silicon's ni,
for example, is roughly 11010 cm-3 at 300 kelvins (room temperature).

In general, an increase in doping concentration affords an increase in conductivity due

to the higher concentration of carriers available for conduction. Degenerately (very
highly) doped semiconductors have conductivity levels comparable to metals and are
often used in modern integrated circuits as a replacement for metal. Often superscript
plus and minus symbols are used to denote relative doping concentration in
semiconductors. For example, n + denotes an n-type semiconductor with a high, often
degenerate, doping concentration. Similarly, p would indicate a very lightly doped p-
type material. It is useful to note that even degenerate levels of doping imply low
concentrations of impurities with respect to the base semiconductor. In crystalline
intrinsic silicon, there are approximately 51022 atoms/cm. Doping concentration for
silicon semiconductors may range anywhere from 1013 cm-3 to 1018 cm-3. Doping
concentration above about 1018 cm-3 is considered degenerate at room temperature.
Degenerately doped silicon contains a proportion of impurity to silicon in the order of
parts per thousand. This proportion may be reduced to parts per billion in very lightly
doped silicon. Typical concentration values fall somewhere in this range and are
tailored to produce the desired properties in the device that the semiconductor is
intended for.

Effect on band structure

Band diagram of a p+n junction. The band bending is a result of the positioning of the
Fermi levels in the p+ and n sides.

Doping a semiconductor crystal introduces allowed energy states within the band gap
but very close to the energy band that corresponds with the dopant type. In other
words, donor impurities create states near the conduction band while acceptors create
states near the valence band. The gap between these energy states and the nearest
energy band is usually referred to as dopant-site bonding energy or EB and is relatively
small. For example, the EB for Boron in silicon bulk is 0.045 eV, compared with
silicon's band gap of about 1.12 eV. Because EB is so small, it takes little energy to
ionize the dopant atoms and create free carriers in the conduction or valence bands.
Usually the thermal energy available at room temperature is sufficient to ionize most of
the dopant.

Dopants also have the important effect of shifting the material's Fermi level towards
the energy band that corresponds with the dopant with the greatest concentration. Since
the Fermi level must remain constant in a system in thermodynamic equilibrium,
stacking layers of materials with different properties leads to many useful electrical
properties. For example, the p-n junction's properties are due to the energy band
bending that happens as a result of lining up the Fermi levels in contacting regions of
p-type and n-type material.

This effect is shown in a band diagram. The band diagram typically indicates the
variation in the valence band and conduction band edges versus some spatial
dimension, often denoted x. The Fermi energy is also usually indicated in the diagram.
Sometimes the intrinsic Fermi energy, Ei, which is the Fermi level in the absence of
doping, is shown. These diagrams are useful in explaining the operation of many kinds
of semiconductor devices.

Preparation of semiconductor materials

Semiconductors with predictable, reliable electronic properties are necessary for mass
production. The level of chemical purity needed is extremely high because the
presence of impurities even in very small proportions can have large effects on the
properties of the material. A high degree of crystalline perfection is also required, since
faults in crystal structure (such as dislocations, twins, and stacking faults) interfere
with the semiconducting properties of the material. Crystalline faults are a major cause
of defective semiconductor devices. The larger the crystal, the more difficult it is to
achieve the necessary perfection. Current mass production processes use crystal ingots
between four and twelve inches (300 mm) in diameter which are grown as cylinders
and sliced into wafers.

Because of the required level of chemical purity and the perfection of the crystal
structure which are needed to make semiconductor devices, special methods have been
developed to produce the initial semiconductor material. A technique for achieving
high purity includes growing the crystal using the Czochralski process. An additional
step that can be used to further increase purity is known as zone refining. In zone
refining, part of a solid crystal is melted. The impurities tend to concentrate in the
melted region, while the desired material recrystalizes leaving the solid material more
pure and with fewer crystalline faults.

In manufacturing semiconductor devices involving heterojunctions between different

semiconductor materials, the lattice constant, which is the length of the repeating
element of the crystal structure, is important for determining the compatibility of

Semiconductors and doping

Semiconductors are materials which are neither conductors or insulators, having conductivities
intermediate to those of conductors like copper and insulators like wood or plastic. Common
semiconductors are Silicon and Germanium. The reason semiconductors are important is that
with some engineering they can sometimes both conduct and insulate depending on their
connections. Thus they serve as the basis for switching and amplification, the fundamental
actions of computer elements. A typical modern processor has several million transistors, one of
the elements manufactured from semiconducting material which we will study here.

Doping refers to the addition of impurities to a semiconductor. The addition of impurities adds
charge carrying elements to the semiconductor. The two classes of doping are p-type and n-type
which refer to the introduction of positive and negative charge carriers. For instance if one
introduces a Phosphorus atom into a silicon lattice, the phosphorus atom would prefer to shed
one of the electrons in its outer shell in order to fit in with the silicon lattice. This electron is then
available to slide through the material, carrying current. This is an example of n-type doping.

By doping the same lattice with Boron, the Boron site wishes to suck an electron out of the
silicon lattice to fit neatly into the structure. The site which is now missing an electron represents
a positive charge, and therefore the doping is p-type. Movement of this site constitutes a current.

Doping becomes important when p-doped and n-doped materials are connected. This constitutes
a diode which is the subject of the next page.

Diodes are electric components which force current to flow in only
one direction. They are formed by connecting p-type and n-type
semiconductors as shown to the right. When current flows from the
p-type to the n-type material, the positive holes and the negative
electrons are forced into close contact at the boundary. At the
boundary, the electrons fill the holes across the boundary while the
terminals supply new holes and electrons. Thus, in the forward bias
case a continual current flows. In the reverse bias case, the charge
carriers are pulled apart. There is no longer an easy way for electrons
to tunnel through the barrier as there are no longer many empty holes waiting on the opposite

The circuit-diagram representation of a diode is with the arrow representing the

direction current is allowed to flow.


A rectifier is a simple device used for creating a DC source from an AC source. The figure below
demonstrates a simple half-wave rectifier.

Since the current only flows one way through the resistor the voltage drop can never be negative.
The capacitor serves merely as an extra voltage source to even out the sine wave The figure
below demonstrates the resulting voltage VS.

The term half-wave refers to the fact that in the absence of the capacitor, a voltage exists only
during the time when the primary source is positive. One can make a steadier source with a full-
wave rectifier as shown below.

For the full-wave rectifier the current flows from left to right through the resistor for all parts of
the AC cycle. This results in a positive voltage at all times as shown in the figure below. The
addition of capacitors would smooth out the resulting DC current even further.