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EE201 : SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES Atomic structure. Material classification. Covalent bonds. Conduction in semiconductors. Extrinsic semiconductors.

The p-n junction Biasing the p-n junction Student Learning Outcomes Upon completion of viewing this presentation, you should be able to: Understand the characteristics and electrical properties of semiconductors. Define a semiconductor and state that silicon and germanium are semiconductor materials. Explain the characteristics of N-type and P-type semiconductors. Understand the characteristics of P-N junction and its reaction towards voltage biasing. Illustrate the formation of a junction Illustrate the meaning of forward biased voltage and reverse biased voltage supplied across a P-N junction. Identify the effects when a P-N junction is supplied with forward biased voltage and reverse biased voltage on the following items: Area of depletion region Junction resistance Current flow (including leakage current) Explain why breakdown occurs when P-N junction is reversing biased.

By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

1.0 INTRODUCTION TO SEMICONDUCTOR 1.1 UNDERSTAND THE CHARACTERISTICS AND ELECTRICAL PROPERTIES OF SEMICONDUCTOR 1.1.1 Define a semiconductor and state that silicon and germanium are semiconductor materials.

Semiconductors are materials that essentially can be conditioned to act as good conductors, or good insulators, or anything in between. Common elements such as carbon, silicon, and germanium are semiconductors. Silicon is the best and most widely used semiconductor. A semiconductor is a substance, usually a solid chemical element or compound that can conduct electricity under some conditions but not others, making it a good medium for the control of electrical current. Its conductance varies depending on the current or voltage applied to a control electrode, or on the intensity of irradiation by infrared (IR), visible light, ultraviolet (UV), or X rays. The specific properties of a semiconductor depend on the impurities, or dopants, added to it. An N-type semiconductor carries current mainly in the form of negatively-charged electrons, in a manner similar to the conduction of current in a wire. A P-type semiconductor carries current predominantly as electron deficiencies called holes. A hole has a positive electric charge, equal and opposite to the charge on an electron. In a semiconductor material, the flow of holes occurs in a direction opposite to the flow of electrons. Elemental semiconductors include antimony, arsenic, boron, carbon, germanium, selenium, silicon, sulphur, and tellurium. Silicon is the best-known of these, forming the basis of most integrated circuits (ICs). Common semiconductor compounds include gallium arsenide, indium antimonide, and the oxides of most metals. Of these, gallium arsenide (GaAs) is widely used in low-noise, high-gain, and weak-signal amplifying devices. A semiconductor device can perform the function of a vacuum tube having hundreds of times its volume. A single integrated circuit (IC), such as a microprocessor chip, can do the work of a set of vacuum tubes that would fill a large building and require its own electric generating plant.

By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

1.1.2 Explain the characteristics of N-type and P-type semiconductors. The Structure of the Atom

Atomic Structure is based on the component parts of an Element. An Element is a unique chemical substance found in nature that is made up of specific, identical atoms. Examples of elements are iron, carbon, oxygen, sodium and chlorine. An atom is the smallest particle that has the properties of the element. Each atom is made up of three things: Protons (P+) - the smallest positively charged unit of matter Neutrons (N) - the smallest neutral unit of matter (no charge) Electrons (e-) - the smallest negatively charged unit of matter The structure of each atom, the Atomic Structure, has a ball shaped center called the nucleus which contains the protons (P+) and the neutrons (N). Around this nucleus, the electrons orbit like planets around the sun as shown in the picture above. Each atom of the a specific element has a constant and unique number of protons. Each element of an atom has an equal number of protons and electrons. Therefore, the element and its physical properties are defined by the number of protons and electrons specific to the element. Atomic Number of an element is referred to as Z and is the total number of protons (P+) that the element has. Since each element has the same number of electrons as protons the Atomic Number is also equal to the number of electrons each element has. Atomic Mass of an element is the total mass (weight) of all the protons, neutrons and electrons that make up the atom of an element. The protons and neutrons are much bigger and heavier than the electrons. The protons and neutrons have an individual Atomic Mass of about 1. In the atom, there is a maximum of 7 layers of the orbit (or shell). Each layer is a layer known as K, l, M, N, O, P and Q (Or 1-7). The maximum number of electrons in one shell is determined by the formula:
By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

2 x n2

n is the number of shells position

so ... the maximum number of electrons in each shell are: Shell of K (1): 2 x 12 = 2 Shell of L (2): 2 x 22 = 8 Shell of M (3): 2 x 32 = 18 Shell of N (4): 2 x 42 = 32 Shell of O (5): 2 x 52 = 50 Shell of P (6): 2x 62 = 72 Shell of Q (7): 2 x 72 = 98 The outermost shell for an atomic is called valence shell and the outmost electron (at the valence shell) is called valence electrons. This layer will not accommodate more than 8 valence electrons. Vales number of electrons is what will determine the electrical properties of a material.

Semiconductors are defined by their unique electric conductive behavior. Metals are good conductors because at their Fermi level, there is a large density of energetically available states that each electron can occupy. Electrons can move quite freely between energy levels without a high energy cost. Metal conductivity decreases with temperature increase because thermal vibrations of crystal lattice disrupt the free motion of electrons. Insulators, by contrast, are very poor conductors of electricity because there is a large difference in energies (called a band gap) between electron-occupied energy levels and empty energy levels that allow for electron motion. Insulator conductivity increases with temperature because heat provides energy to promote electrons across the band gap to the higher electron conduction energy levels (called the conduction band). Semiconductors, on the other hand, have an intermediate level of electric conductivity when compared to metals and insulators. Their band gap is small enough that small increase in temperature promotes sufficient number of electrons (to result in measurable currents) from the lowest energy levels (in the valence band) to the conduction band. This creates electron holes, or unoccupied levels, in the valence band, and very loosely held electrons in the conduction band. An intrinsic semiconductor is made up ideally of one pure
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element, typically silicon. At room temperature, the conductivity of intrinsic semiconductors is relatively low. Conductivity is greatly enhanced by a process called doping, in which other elements are added to the intrinsic crystal in very small amounts to create what is called an extrinsic semiconductor. When the dopant called donor donates extra electrons to the host, the product is called an n-type semiconductor. The process of doping is described as it introduces energy levels into band gap; those levels are filled with electrons and lie close to the conduction band so that even slight thermal agitation can release them into the conduction band. It should be noted, that the negative charge of the electrons is balanced by an equivalent positive charge in the center of the impurity atoms. Therefore, the net electrical charge of the semiconductor material is not changed. Doping atoms, donors, usually have one more valence electron than one type of the host atoms. The most common example is atomic substitution in group IV solids (silicon, germanium, tin which contain four valence electrons) by group V elements (phosphorus, arsenic, antimony) which contain five loosely bound valence electrons. The situation is more uncertain when the host contains more than one type of atoms. For example, in III-V semiconductors like gallium arsenide, silicon can be a donor when it substitutes for gallium and acceptor when it replaces arsenic. Some donors have fewer valence electrons than the host, such as alkali metals, which are donors in most solids. No of Electron 1 - 3 valences electrons Materials type Conductor Notes The ability to conduct electricity. have low resistance to facilitate current flow Atomic tends to release valence electrons and become free electrons move from one atom to another atom.

5 8 valences electrons

Insulator

Cannot conduct electricity. Have a high resistance. atomic tend to accept valence electrons from other atoms to fill the valence shell of the atoms and make it stable and able to stay away from any electrical or chemical activity. The situation is intermediate between conductors and insulators. Not easy to remove / accept valence electrons from other atoms.

4 valences electrons

Semiconductor

By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

Intrinsic semiconductors An intrinsic semiconductor is an undoped semiconductor. This means that holes in the valence band are vacancies created by electrons that have been thermally excited to the conduction band, as opposed to doped semiconductors where holes or electrons are supplied by a foreign atom acting as an impurity. Doped (extrinsic) semiconductors An extrinsic semiconductor is a semiconductor doped by a specific impurity which is able to deeply modify its electrical properties, making it suitable for electronic applications (diodes, transistors, etc.) or optoelectronic applications (light emitters and detectors). N-type semiconductors A N-type semiconductor is an intrinsic semiconductor (e.g. silicon Si) in which a donor impurity (e.g. arsenic As in Si, or Si in GaAs) has been intentionally introduced. The impurities are called donor impurities since they have to give an extra electron to the conduction band in order to make all the bonds with neighboring atoms (As is pentavalent while Si is tetravalent). N-type semiconductors are a type of extrinsic semiconductor where the dopant atoms (donors) are capable of providing extra conduction electrons to the host material (e.g. phosphorus in silicon). This creates an excess of negative (n-type) electron charge carriers.

The silicon doped with extra electrons is called an N type semiconductor. N is for negative, which is the charge of an electron.

By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

P-type semiconductors A P-type semiconductor is an intrinsic semiconductor (like Si) in which an impurity acting as an acceptor (like e.g. boron B in Si) has been intentionally added. These impurities are called acceptors since once they are inserted in the crystalline lattice; they lack one or several electrons to realize a full bonding with the rest of the crystal. A p-type semiconductor (p for Positive) is obtained by carrying out a process of doping by adding a certain type of atoms (acceptors) to the semiconductor in order to increase the number of free charge carriers (in this case positive holes). When the doping material is added, it takes away (accepts) weakly bound outer electrons from the semiconductor atoms. This type of doping agent is also known as an acceptor material and the vacancy left behind by the electron is known as a hole. The purpose of p-type doping is to create an abundance of holes. In the case of silicon, a trivalent atom (typically from Group 13 of the periodic table, such as boron or aluminium) is substituted into the crystal lattice. The result is that one electron is missing from one of the four covalent bonds normal for the silicon lattice. Thus the dopant atom can accept an electron from a neighboring atom's covalent bond to complete the fourth bond. This is why such dopants are called acceptors. The dopant atom accepts an electron, causing the loss of half of one bond from the neighboring atom and resulting in the formation of a "hole". Each hole is associated with a nearby negatively charged dopant ion, and the semiconductor remains electrically neutral as a whole. However, once each hole has wandered away into the lattice, one proton in the atom at the hole's location will be "exposed" and no longer cancelled by an electron. This atom will have 3 electrons and 1 hole surrounding a particular nucleus with 4 protons. For this reason a hole behaves as a positive charge. When a sufficiently large number of acceptor atoms are added, the holes greatly outnumber thermal excited electrons. Thus, holes are the majority carriers, while electrons become minority carriers in p-type materials.

Silicon doped with material missing electrons that produce locations called holes is called P type semiconductor. P is for positive, which is the charge of a hole.
By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

1.2 UNDERSTAND THE CHARACTERISTICS OF P-N JUNCTION AND ITS REACTION TOWARDS VOLTAGE BIASING. 1.2.1 Illustrate the formation of a junction. a. Free electrons mobility. b. Formation of depletion region and its properties. c. Existence of threshold voltage and its values for silicon and germanium.

P N Junction

Free electrons and hole will try to move to P and N region. Electrons in the N-type material will be attracted to fill the hole in the P-type material. Therefore, the crossing occurs of the electron N-type material to the P-type material

This combination causes nearby atoms combining into neutral (areas that have no current carriers). The crossing of electron and hole will cease. The neutral area (without current carriers) is known as the depletion region.

Positive ions and negative ions; surrounding combining causes a potential difference there is between the two materials. Positive potential in the N-type material, and negatively on the P-type material. This potential is the same as a small battery which is known as voltage drop. The voltage drop is small. The voltage drop for the semiconductor germanium about 0.3 V and silicon semiconductor value of approximately 0.7V.

By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

1.2.2

Illustrate the meaning of forward biased voltage and reverse biased voltage supplied across a P-N junction. FORWARD BIAS

In forward bias, the p-type is connected with the positive terminal and the n-type is connected with the negative terminal. REVERSE BIAS

Reverse biased usually refers to how a diode is used in a circuit. If a diode is reverse biased, the voltage at the cathode is higher than that at the anode. Therefore, no current will flow until the diode breaks down. Connecting the P-type region to the negative terminal of the battery and the N-type region to the positive terminal, corresponds to reverse bias. 1.2.3 Identify the effects when a P-N junction is supplied with forward biased voltage and reverse biased voltage on the following items: a. Area of depletion region b. Junction resistance c. Current flow (including leakage current)

A 'pn junction' is formed at the boundary between a P-type and N-type semiconductor created in a single crystal of semiconductor by doping, for example by ion implantation, diffusion of dopants, or by epitaxy (growing a layer of crystal doped with one type of dopant on top of a layer of crystal doped with another type of dopant). If two separate pieces of material were used, this would introduce a grain boundary between the semiconductors that severely inhibits its utility by scattering the electrons and holes. PN junctions are elementary "building blocks" of most semiconductor electronic devices such as diodes, transistors, solar cells, LEDs, and integrated circuits; they are the active sites where the electronic action of the device takes place. For example, a
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common type of transistor, the bipolar junction transistor, consists of two pn junctions in series, in the form npn or pnp. The pn junction possesses some interesting properties that have useful applications in modern electronics. A p-doped semiconductor is relatively conductive. The same is true of an n-doped semiconductor, but the junction between them can become depleted of charge carriers, and hence non-conductive, depending on the relative voltages of the two semiconductor regions. By manipulating this non-conductive layer, pn junctions are commonly used as diodes: circuit elements that allow a flow of electricity in one direction but not in the other (opposite) direction. This property is explained in terms of forward bias and reverse bias, where the term bias refers to an application of electric voltage to the pn junction. In forward bias, the p-type is connected with the positive terminal and the n-type is connected with the negative terminal. With a battery connected this way, the holes in the P-type region and the electrons in the N-type region are pushed toward the junction. This reduces the width of the depletion zone. The positive charge applied to the P-type material repels the holes, while the negative charge applied to the N-type material repels the electrons. As electrons and holes are pushed toward the junction, the distance between them decreases. This lowers the barrier in potential. With increasing forward-bias voltage, the depletion zone eventually becomes thin enough that the zone's electric field cannot counteract charge carrier motion across the pn junction, as a consequence reducing electrical resistance. The electrons that cross the pn junction into the Ptype material (or holes that cross into the N-type material) will diffuse in the nearneutral region. Therefore, the amount of minority diffusion in the near-neutral zones determines the amount of current that may flow through the diode. Only majority carriers (electrons in N-type material or holes in P-type) can flow through a semiconductor for a macroscopic length. With this in mind, consider the flow of electrons across the junction. The forward bias causes a force on the electrons pushing them from the N side toward the P side. With forward bias, the depletion region is narrow enough that electrons can cross the junction and inject into the P-type material. However, they do not continue to flow through the P-type material indefinitely, because it is energetically favorable for them to recombine with holes. The average length an electron travels through the P-type material before recombining is called the diffusion length, and it is typically on the order of microns. Although the electrons penetrate only a short distance into the P-type material, the electric current continues uninterrupted, because holes (the majority carriers) begin to flow in the opposite direction. The total current (the sum of the electron and hole currents) is constant in space, because any variation would cause charge buildup over time (this is Kirchhoff's current law). The flow of holes from the P-type region into the N-type region is exactly analogous to the flow of electrons from N to P
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(electrons and holes swap roles and the signs of all currents and voltages are reversed). Therefore, the macroscopic picture of the current flow through the diode involves electrons flowing through the N-type region toward the junction, holes flowing through the P-type region in the opposite direction toward the junction, and the two species of carriers constantly recombining in the vicinity of the junction. The electrons and holes travel in opposite directions, but they also have opposite charges, so the overall current is in the same direction on both sides of the diode, as required. The Shockley diode equation models the forward-bias operational characteristics of a pn junction outside the avalanche (reverse-biased conducting) region.

Reverse-biased usually refers to how a diode is used in a circuit. If a diode is reversebiased, the voltage at the cathode is higher than that at the anode. Therefore, no current will flow until the diode breaks down. Connecting the P-type region to the negative terminal of the battery and the N-type region to the positive terminal corresponds to reverse bias. The connections are illustrated in the following diagram: Because the p-type material is now connected to the negative terminal of the power supply, the 'holes' in the P-type material are pulled away from the junction, causing the width of the depletion zone to increase. Likewise, because the N-type region is connected to the positive terminal, the electrons will also be pulled away from the junction. Therefore, the depletion region widens, and does so increasingly with increasing reverse-bias voltage. This increases the voltage barrier causing a high resistance to the flow of charge carriers, thus allowing minimal electric current to cross the pn junction. The increase in resistance of the pn junction results in the junction behaving as an insulator. The strength of the depletion zone electric field increases as the reverse-bias voltage increases. Once the electric field intensity increases beyond a critical level, the pn junction depletion zone breaks down and current begins to flow, usually by either the Zener or the avalanche breakdown processes. Both of these breakdown processes are non-destructive and are reversible, as long as the amount of current flowing does not reach levels that cause the semiconductor material to overheat and cause thermal damage.
By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai

This effect is used to one's advantage in Zener diode regulator circuits. Zener diodes have a certain low breakdown voltage. A standard value for breakdown voltage is for instance 5.6 V. This means that the voltage at the cathode can never be more than 5.6 V higher than the voltage at the anode, because the diode will break down and therefore conduct if the voltage gets any higher. This in effect regulates the voltage over the diode. Another application where reverse biased diodes are used is in Varicap diodes. The width of the depletion zone of any diode changes with voltage applied. This varies the capacitance of the diode. For more information, refer to the Varicap article. Forward Bias With a battery connected this way, the holes in the P-type region and the electrons in the N-type region are pushed towards the junction. This reduces the width of the depletion zone. The positive charge applied to the P-type material repels the holes, while the negative charge applied to the N-type material repels the electrons. As electrons and holes are pushed towards the junction, the distance between them decreases. This lowers the barrier in potential. With increasing forward-bias voltage, the depletion zone eventually becomes thin enough that the zone's electric field can't counteract charge carrier motion across the pn junction, consequently reducing electrical resistance. The electrons which cross the pn junction into the Ptype material (or holes which cross into the N-type material) will diffuse in the nearneutral region. Therefore, the amount of minority diffusion in the near-neutral zones determines the amount of current that may flow through the diode. Reverse Bias Because the p-type material is now connected to the negative terminal of the power supply, the 'holes' in the P-type material are pulled away from the junction, causing the width of the depletion zone to increase. Similarly, because the N-type region is connected to the positive terminal, the electrons will also be pulled away from the junction. Therefore the depletion region widens, and does so increasingly with increasing reverse-bias voltage. This increases the voltage barrier causing a high resistance to the flow of charge carriers thus allowing minimal electric current to cross the pn junction. The increase in resistance of the pn junction results in the junction behaving as an insulator. 1.2.4 Explain why breakdown occurs when P-N junction is reverse biased.

Reverse Bias Because the p-type material is now connected to the negative terminal of the power supply, the 'holes' in the P-type material are pulled away from the junction, causing the width of the depletion zone to increase. Similarly, because the N-type region is connected to the positive terminal, the electrons will also be pulled away from the
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junction. Therefore the depletion region widens, and does so increasingly with increasing reverse-bias voltage. This increases the voltage barrier causing a high resistance to the flow of charge carriers thus allowing minimal electric current to cross the pn junction. The increase in resistance of the pn junction results in the junction behaving as an insulator. Breakdown Voltage The strength of the depletion zone electric field increases as the reverse-bias voltage increases. Once the electric field intensity increases beyond a critical level, the pn junction depletion zone breaks-down and current begins to flow cause the semiconductor material to overheat and cause thermal damage. To overcome this, make sure that reverse bias voltage that can be applied to the P-N junction must not exceed the voltage breakdown point. Leakage Current It is a minority current within the material. It exists when the diode is given reverse bias voltage. The electrons in the P-type material will be rejected by a bias voltage to the negative terminal and continued to cross it. The current flow produced a very small value. The current is referred to as Leakage current or reverse current. The value depends on the temperature. The lower the temperature; the lower its value, and vice versa.

Figure: Reversed biased P-N junction If the voltage is reverse, a tiny leakage current of no more than a few microamps will be get. At a certain voltage, anything from 10 V to 2000 V, depending on the doping, the insulation of the barrier layer breaks down suddenly and a sudden increase in current occurs. The breakdown voltage is the voltage at which this happens. In many diodes, this would result in burn-out.

By:- Syafafwati Hanis Binti Mohd Jamaai