Questions tagged [semiconductor-physics]

Semiconductor physics is the branch of solid state physics that focuses on specific properties of semiconductors. It studies dynamics of different perturbations (mainly electrons and holes) in the semiconductor crystal and the ways to harness it in electrical circuits.

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9answers
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Why is it said that without quantum mechanics we would not have modern computers?

I've heard this in many quantum mechanics talks and lectures, nevertheless I don't seem to grasp the idea behind it. What I mean is, at which point is that our modern understanding of quantum ...
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3answers
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Is there a physical limit to data transfer rate?

Is there a physical limit to data transfer rate (e.g. for USB $3.0$, this rate can be a few Gbit per second)? I am wondering if there is a physical law giving a fundamental limit to data transfer rate,...
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Why is silicon used for making solar cells?

Silicon has a bandgap of 1.1 eV, whereas germanium has 0.65 eV. Silicon has an indirect bandgap, whereas gallium arsenide has a direct bandgap. Still silicon is mainly used for making solar cells. Why?...
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Why don't free electrons escape from a conductor?

The thermal velocity of the free electron in a metallic conductor varies from $10^5\ \mathrm{m/s}$ to $10^6\ \mathrm{m/s}$. In spite of high velocity, free electrons fail to escape from the metallic ...
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3answers
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Was the understanding of QM fundamental to the creation of transistors and silicon semiconductors?

Without quantum mechanics there would be no transistor, and hence no personal computer; no laser, and hence no Blu-ray players. James Kakalios, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota, ...
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Why are band maxima / minima often (always?) at high-symmetry points?

(inspired by this question.) In every semiconductor that I can think of, the valence band maximum and conduction band minimum are at a high-symmetry point in the Brillouin Zone (BZ). Often the BZ ...
14
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4answers
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Are insulators and conductors arbitrary categories?

I have seen charts showing the transition from insulator to semi-conductor is at $10^{-8}~\frac{\text{S}}{\text{cm}}$ and between semi-conductor and conductor is $10^{3}~\frac{\text{S}}{\text{cm}}$. ...
14
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7answers
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Why the electrons below the Fermi level do not conduct electricity?

Physically, why is it that the electrons need to excited above the Fermi level to conduct electricity? In other words, why is the current zero when the electrons lie below the Fermi level? Does Pauli ...
13
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3answers
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What is it about the “conduction band” of a material that is distinct from the valence band?

I'm taking a course in nanotech and we're discussing nanoelectronics. This has led to a discussion of conductors, semiconductors, and insulators. I have a number of lovely diagrams explaining the fact ...
13
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3answers
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Measuring the effective mass

Intro: To avoid any terminology confusion, this is asked in the context of Solid State Physics and semiconductors. The canonical definition given for the effective mass is that it is related to the ...
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6answers
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How can doped semiconductor be neutral?

I have studied about the two types of doping which result in p and n type semiconductors. I also came to know that they are neutral. But, how can it be? Is it that the positive charge(holes) in p-...
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What are “electron holes” in semiconductors?

I'm tutoring senior high school students. So far I've explained them the concepts of atomic structure (Bohr's model & Quantum mechanical model) very clearly. Now the next topic to be taught is ...
12
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1answer
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What is the probability of quantum tunneling occurring in this CPU?

You may have noticed over the last few years that Moore's law is no longer applying to the real world. This observation states that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on ...
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3answers
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How do Zener diodes maintain the potential across their terminals?

My physics book has a topic about Zener diodes being used as voltage regulators in the reverse bias. Well, I'm curious to know how does a Zener diode maintain the potential across its terminals after ...
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3answers
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Why can electricity flow only in one direction through a diode?

A few days ago I was soldering a small thing which contained a diode, a battery and some other useless things. Unfortunately, I soldered the diode reversed and it didn't work. When I reversed it ...
10
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1answer
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Why do electrons in graphene behave as Dirac fermions near the Dirac points?

I've been learning about graphene, and I recently calculated the band structure for it using a nearest-neighbor tight-binding model for the $\pi$ electrons: $$\varepsilon(\vec k)=\pm t\sqrt{3+2 \cos \...
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Is it viable or possible to make your own transistor?

Just wondering if it is possible/viable to construct your own transistor, not small like todays, but the same scale as the one created at Bell Labs.
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4answers
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What does Fermi level in the band gap mean?

What does it mean that the Fermi level for some semiconductors lie in the band gap? Is Fermi level definition different from what is know as usual? We define the Fermi level as the highest level of ...
9
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2answers
898 views

Modern and complete references for the $k\cdot p$ method?

I've recently started studying the $k\cdot p$ method for describing electronic bandstructures near the centre of the Brillouin zone and I've been finding it hard to find any pedagogical references on ...
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3answers
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Pn junction voltage drop?

This image from wikipedia, explains that there occurs a potential drop across a pn semiconductor junction, and an electric field confined to the depletion region. I already know the reason for the ...
8
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1answer
27k views

Difference between steady state and equilibrium?

In semiconductor physics, what is the difference between steady state and equilibrium. How analysis of devices varies in these processes?
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1answer
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Understanding electronic band structure diagrams

Currently I'm trying to understand electronic band structures such as depicted below: band structure http://ej.iop.org/images/1367-2630/14/3/033045/Full/nj413738f1_online.jpg And following questions ...
8
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1answer
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Why does the conductivity $\sigma$ decrease with the temperature $T$ in a semi-conductor?

We performed an undergrad experiment where we looked at the resistance $\rho$ and Hall constant $R_\text H$ of a doped InAs semiconductor with the van der Pauw method. Then we cooled it down to around ...
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2answers
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Ionized Depletion Region, Why aren't those charged being excited?

Ok so I understand the PN junction, and how when 2 Semiconductor materials are placed together the Electrons will jump into the Holes near the junction creating a Negatively Ionized Atoms on the P-...
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2answers
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What factors cause the velocity saturation to occur at different electric fields for different materials?

In semiconductors the velocity of carriers gets saturated after a certain value of electric field. In silicon it occurs at around $10^4 kV/cm$ and in GaAs at some other value. What factors are ...
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Electric field inside a diode

When a voltage is applied to a diode (forward or reversed bias) the depletion zone is changed due to charges change in this region. My question is in both case (forward or reversed bias), how the ...
7
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1answer
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Why is photodiode made reverse biased?

If only its purpose is to create an additional electron-hole pair,then why would it be made reverse biased.We can good amount of current in forward biased condition.
7
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2answers
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Why doesn't current flow in reverse biased diode?

Consider this reverse biased diode : I read that no or very small current flows in reverse biased diode as depletion layers get widened and huge resistance is offered so no electrons can cross it. ...
7
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4answers
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Tunneling v. Hopping

Can someone explain the difference between hopping and tunneling? The context I'm considering is conduction in semiconductors, specifically between impurity states within the bandgap. It's always ...
7
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1answer
4k views

How do Zener diodes survive the breakdown during reverse bias?

My highschool textbook states that Zener diodes are a special type of diode which is made of highly doped p and n junctions, and which can survive reverse bias - unlike normal diodes, which get ...
7
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1answer
171 views

Has the Nobel committee mixed up this years prizes for Physics and Chemistry? [closed]

The title of the question is tongue-in-cheek but the question remains: How does the Nobel committee delineate the fields when awarding work which is of such an inter-disciplinary nature. The chemistry ...
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2answers
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What is injection level (semiconductor physics)?

I am currently reading journal articles about semiconductor physics in solar cells. What is injection level? I'll try to start off with what I understand. Photons hitting the silicon cause its ...
7
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1answer
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The skin effect and the reflectivity of gold

I am simulating a waveguide in COMSOL, a FEM solver. My model looks like this (it is similar to a standard Quantum Cascade Laser geometry): Therefore there is a very thin (30nm) layer of gold ...
7
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1answer
484 views

Donors/Acceptors in Metal Oxides

Can anyone explain to me why most articles describe chromium as an acceptor in titanium dioxide? In TiO2, titanium has the charge state Ti$^{4+}$ and oxygen has the charge state O$^{2-}$. When Cr ...
7
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1answer
522 views

Why does Fermi Level change due to change in donor atom concentration?

Suppose I have a n-type semiconductor whose fermi-level lies (say) 0.2 eV below the conduction band. Why would this level change if I changed the doping by making the donor concentration (say) 4 times ...
7
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0answers
71 views

Model for a thin metal/semiconductor junction?

Are there any books or articles that describe models for transport in a metal/semiconductor junction where the thickness of the semiconductor is less than the thickness of the depletion/accumulation ...
6
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1answer
673 views

How is a CCD able to collect images in drastically different lighting conditions?

I have read the basics of how a digital camera works. As much as I have understood, the digital cameras have a device called a CCD on which photons coming from the lens are incident. The CCD then ...
6
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2answers
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Why absence of electron is called hole?

I am having hard time in understanding the concept of holes: If there is no electron than how can it be a hole? For a moment lets assume absence of electron is termed as hole but how can this absent ...
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5answers
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Derivation of Schrodinger equation for a system with position dependent effective mass

How to derive the Schrodinger equation for a system with position dependent effective mass? For example, I encountered this equation when I first studied semiconductor hetero-structures. All the books ...
6
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3answers
677 views

Do holes have physical existence?

We know that holes are created due to electrons hopping from one covalent bond to another. But does a hole have a physical existence or it's just a fictitious positive charge, an illusion created by ...
6
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2answers
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Materials for use in a solar cell

In a solar cell, photons of the incident sunlight supply energy for excitation of electrons - a process which generates electron-hole pairs which can move under the influence of the electric field of ...
6
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2answers
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How to make a single crystal silicon wafer?

How can I make a single crystal silicon wafer? What are the tools needed? What is the most diffcult part? Can I make it at home or at school lab? I am now interested on Czochralski process where you ...
6
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1answer
587 views

Does anyone know the difference and relation between $k\cdot p$ method and tight binding (TB) method?

Among the methods of calculating energy bands for crystals, first-principles method is the most accurate. Besides first principles, two commonly used modeling methods are the $k\cdot p$ method and ...
6
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2answers
258 views

The difference between optical phonons and acoustic phonons in terms of energy absorption

Why can the energy of a photon be directly absorbed by an optical phonon but not by an acoustic phonon?
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5answers
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Why do solar cells have a window layer on top of the absorber layer and not below it?

In solar cells there is a p-n junction. P-type semiconductor (for example CdTe) is often absorber layer because of its carrier lifetime and mobilities. In case of CdS/CdTe,* CdS is n-type window layer ...
6
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1answer
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What is a Dirac semimetal?

What is the precise definition of a Dirac semimetal? Is it sufficient for two bands to touch at a single k point with a linear crossing, or are more conditions required for a material to be called a ...
6
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2answers
233 views

Optical mode leakage through a layer of gold

The geometry of my semiconductor device is given below. The blue regions are gold, the grey ones - gallium arsenide (n-doped to $2.9 \times 10^{15} \mathrm{cm^{-3}}$). The dimensions are μm, i.e. it ...
6
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1answer
247 views

How can I simulate a model electronic hole?

Suppose I can solve time-dependent Schrödinger equation for several 1D particles (currently 3). I'd like to see, what an electronic hole is and how it behaves — in a series of numerical experiments. ...
6
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2answers
968 views

Why isn't there a potential difference across a disconnected diode?

I know this question sounds silly, as if there was a potential difference a current would be created when the terminals are connected together and this would mean energy has come from somewhere. The ...
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2answers
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How do High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMT) work?

I am studying High Electron Mobility Transistors (HEMT), but I simply cannot understand how they work in the way described by the references I've read on the Internet. This is what I understand so ...