Fundamentals of Semiconductor Physics

Welcome to EE 227, Fundamentals of Semicond Physics. We have learned Solid State Physics and Devices multiple times. But in many cases, the connection to traditional Electromagnetism or other fields of Physics is not discussed. For example,

(1) Dielectric Constant (function) ε

Many books say it increases a capacitance value by ε when a dielectric is inserted. OK. If we have to consider ε for a metal, which value is the most appropriate? Quick answer: minus infinity. Why?

(2) E-field and D-field

If an electric field is applied to a material, it will be polarized, which is E and which is D? Quick answer: the input external field is D and the output field is E. The common sense is the other way around. What is going on?

(3) Quantum Capacitor

As a device, a capacitor has two terminals. Each terminal is connected to an electrode, and a pair of electrodes store positive and negative charges. But the new concept of quantum capacitor applies to a single conductor storing only one kind of charges. What does it mean?

(4) Energy Bands

In some textbooks, it is written, "the bottom of the conduction band is s-like, and the top of the valence band is p-like." Wait a minute. P-orbitals must be higher in energy than s-orbitals. What is going on? Quick answer: this is not a typo and is correct. There is a deep meaning for it. 

If you are like me, you may have spent a lot of time considering these subjects. The course will cover subjects that may be familiar to you, but there are often twists. We will re-examine various fundamentals and clear up annoying paradoxes. New concepts are also covered, such as Coulomb blockade, various tunneling, double layer capacitance, pseudocapacitance, etc.

Rather than concentrating on mathematics, we really want to understand what is going on in semiconductor materials and devices. If you have any questions, just send me an email at

You may look at T. Yamada, Chapter 7, "Nanoelectronics Applications" in Carbon Nanotubes: Science and Applications edited by M. Meyyappan, (CRC, Boca, Raton, 2004). But it was written ten years ago, and new topics such as quantum capacitor or kinetic inductor are not discussed. They will be surely covered in class. Syllabus is available in "Attached Files (Secure)" in the left column. Please check "Class Guide (Secure)" regularly, since all announcements are made in there.

***Important****Please click Class Guide (Secure) regularly with your BlueCruz ID, since all important communications are posted there. HWs and class notes are posted in Attachments, but again you need yourBlueCruz ID.


Toshishige Yamada, Ph.D. (EE)




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