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ECE001 -ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND CIRCUITS

INTRODUCTION TO SEMICONDUCTOR
The Three Kinds of Formulas
A formula is a rule that relates quantities. The rule may be an equation, an inequality, or other mathematical
description.
3 Ways Formulas Can Come Into Existense
1. The Definition a formula invented for a new concept.
2. The Law a formula for a relationship in nature.
3. The Derivation A formula produced with mathematics.
Approximations
1. Ideal Approximation
2. Second Approximation
3. Third Approximation

Basic Terms
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Nucleus is the center of an atom.


Proton is the positively charged particle in the nucleus of an atom.
Neutron is the uncharged particle in the nucleus of an atom.
Electron is the negatively charged particle in an atom.
Electron Shell is the outside part of an atom around the atomic nucleus.
Valence Shell is the outermost shell of an atom.
Valence Electron are electrons in the valence shell

Classification of Materials in Terms of its Electrical Property


1. Conductor if the number of electrons on the valence shell is equal to 1 but less than 4.
2. Semiconductor if the number of electrons on the valence shell is equal to 4.
3. Insulator if the number of electrons on the valence shell is less than or equal to 8 but more than 4.
Common Semiconductors used in Electronics

Germanium

Silicon

Carbon

ECE001 -ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND CIRCUITS


Silicon Crystals Lattice

Crystal An orderly pattern formed when silicon atoms combine to form a solid.
Covalent Bonds Each neighboring atom shares an electron with the central atom.
Valence Saturation the valence orbit can hold no more than eight electrons. The eight valence
electrons are called bound electrons.
Hole a vacancy in the valence orbit due to heat energy.
Free Electron an electron that is loosely held by an atom.
Recombination is the merging of a free electron and a hole
Lifetime the amount of time between the creation and disappearance of a free electron.
Intrinsic Semiconductor a pure semiconductor.
Doping one way to increase conductivity of a semiconductor. This means adding impurity atoms to an
intrinsic crystal to alter its electrical conductivity.
Extrinsic Semiconductor a doped semiconductor.

Doping a Semiconductor
Increasing the Free Electrons

Pentavalent Atoms atoms having five electrons in the valence orbit. Examples are phosphorus,
arsenic, antimony, and bismuth.
Donor Impurities materials that donate an extra electron.
Lightly doped semiconductor has high resistance.
Heavily doped semiconductor has low resistance.

Increasing the Number of Holes

Trivalent Atoms atoms having three electrons in the valence orbit. Examples are born, aluminum and
gallium.
Acceptor Impurities materials that accept an extra electron.

ECE001 -ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND CIRCUITS

Two Types of Extrinsic Semiconductor


1. N-type semiconductor silicon that has been doped with a pentavalent impurity. Free electrons are the
majority carriers and holes are called the minority carriers.
2. P-type semiconductor silicon that has been doped with a trivalent impurity. Holes are the majority
carriers and the free electrons are the minority carriers.
Unbiased Diode

PN junction the border between p-type and n-type of a doped crystal.


PN crystal also known as a junction diode.
Dipole pair of positive and negative ions on each side of the junction.
Depletion Layer the region near the junction where carriers are absent.
Barrier Potential the voltage across the depletion layer.

Forward Bias

If the p-type is more positive than the n-type material.


Flow of Free Electrons

Reverse Bias

If the n-type is more positive than the n-type material.


Depletion Layer Widens
Saturation Current the reverse current caused by the thermally produced minority carriers.
Surface-Leakage Current small current flows on the surface of the crystal.
Reverse Current consist of a minority carrier current and a surface-leakage current.

Breakdown

Breakdown Voltage the maximum reverse voltage a diode can withstand before avalanche or the
zener effect occurs.
Avalanche effect A phenomenon that occurs for large reverse voltages across a pn junction.
Zener effect sometimes called high-field emission, this occurs when the intensity of the electric field
becomes high enough to dislodge valence electrons in a reverse biased diode.
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ECE001 -ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND CIRCUITS


Energy Levels

Higher energy in larger orbit


Falling electrons radiate light

Energy Bands

for semiconductors, holes remain in the valence band, but free electrons go to the next- higher energy
band, which is called the conduction band.
Energy gap is an energy range in a solid where no electron states can exist.

Barrier Potential and Temperature

Junction temperature is the temperature inside a diode, right at the pn junction


Less barrier potential at higher junction temperatures.
The change in the barrier potential of a silicon diode decreases by 2mV for each degree Celsius rise.

= 2/

Rearranging:
= (2/)

ECE001 -ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND CIRCUITS


Example. Assuming a barrier potential of 0.7V at an ambient temperature of 25oC, what is the barrier potential
of a silicon diode wen the junction temperature is 100oC? at 0oC?
Ans. 0.55V, 0.75V

Reverse Biased Diode

Transient Current
Reverse Saturation Current the higher the junction temperature, the greater the saturation current. Is
doubles for each 10oC rise.
= 100% 10
If changes in temperature are less than 10oC,
= 7%

Ex. A silicon diode has a saturation current of 5nA at 25oC. What is the saturation current at 100oC?
Ans. 898nA
Silicon versus Germanium

In Germanium atom the valence band is much closer to the conduction band. In other words,
germanium has a much smaller energy gap than silicon has.

Surface-Leakage Current

The surface-leakage current is directly proportional to the reverse voltage.

Ex. If the surface-leakage current is 2nA for a reverse voltage of 25V, what is the surface-leakage current for a
reverse voltage of 35V?
Ans. 2.8nA

REFERENCE:
Malvino, A. & Bates D.(2007), Electronic Principles 7th Edition. McGrwahill, New York.