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Semiconductor Devices - Hour 16 P-N J unctions Part 1: Concepts, Charges and Fields

Today: Apply our bag of tools to the most basic device of microelectronics, the P-N junction
- Basic element of all transistors -Device onto itself in form of diode / detector / solar cell
Consider separate pieces of P-type and N-type semiconductor
E
c
E
i P-type: =>
E
F
E
v
- Neutral Si atoms (not shown)
- Fixed negative acceptor ions
- Mobile positive holes
By catching electrons, acceptors pull
down Fermi Energy (electron filling level)
E
c
E
F
N-type: => E
i
E
v
- Neutral Si atoms (not shown)
- Fixed positive donor ions
- Mobile negative electrons
By giving up electrons, donors push
up Fermi Energy (electron filling level)
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 1 2/2/2009
Or in terms of equations for P-type material's lowered Fermi Level:
Using E offsets at left: E
c
Using E offset at right:
E
c
E
F

n
o
N
c
e
E
c
E
F

( )

k T
= n
o
n
i
e
E
F
E
i

k T
=
E
i
E
i
E
F

E
F
E
F
E
v

p
o
N
v
e
E
F
E
v

( )

k T
= p
o
n
i
e
E
i
E
F

k T
=
E
v
Same equations work for N-type material's raised Fermi Level
Using E offset at right:
Using E offsets at left: E
c
E
c
E
F

E
F
n
o
n
i
e
E
F
E
i

k T
=
n
o
N
c
e
E
c
E
F

( )

k T
= E
i
E
F

E
i
E
F
E
v

p
o
n
i
e
E
i
E
F

k T
=
p
o
N
v
e
E
F
E
v

( )

k T
=
E
v
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 2 2/2/2009
Position pieces of P-type and N-type material side by side (and draw EVERYTHING!)
E
c
E
v
p
+
n
-
N
d
+

N
a
-

Total charge =0!!
total Total charge =0!!
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 3 2/2/2009
Bring the pieces together and (magically) look so quickly that there is no time for rearrangement
E
c
Abrupt step in E
F
E
v
p
+
<=Infinite hole gradient
<=Infinite electron gradient
n
-
N
d
+
<=Infinite donor gradient
N
a
-
<=Infinite acceptor gradient

total
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 4 2/2/2009
Donors and Acceptors are out of luck: They are atoms that simply can't move at room temperature!
But conduction band electrons & valence band holes can and WILL move!
Hole gradient:
J
diffusion_p
q D
p

x
p
d
d
= =>huge hole diffusion to right!
P-side N-side
=>
Holes entering N-type side find MANY electrons to recombine with
Electron gradient:
J
diffusion_n
q D
n

x
n
d
d
= =>huge electron diffusion to left!!
<=
Electrons entering P-type side find MANY holes to recombine with
However: Holes leave behind negative acceptor ions! Electrons leave behind positive donor ions!
Dipole of ions builds up electric field
Eventually stops further carrier crossing
P-side w/o holes
N-side w/o electrons

Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 5 2/2/2009
"Steady-state" configuration Region at junction totally depleted of carriers!
x
p x
n
"Depletion Layer"
Total width =W
Width on p-side =x
p
Width on n-side =x
n
E
c W
E
v
p
+
n
-
N
d
+

N
a
-

Dipole of ions

total
Blocking Electric Field!

Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 6 2/2/2009
1) Steps in carrier concentration (also manifested by step in E
F
) =>massive carrier flow across the junction
2) Electrons entering P-side recombine with holes - Holes entering N-side recombine with electrons
3) Outward flow of carriers +loss to recombination =>regions depleted of carriers leaving N
a
-
/ N
d
+
exposed
4) N
a
-
<= =< N
d
+
Electric field pushes back on remaining holes at left / electrons at right
5) Flow stops, E
F
is then flat across junction - Step in E
c
/ E
v
is energy of blocking electric field
stopping electrons
stopping holes
Can quantify that step very simply: It's just the sum of the arrows =Formulas early in this lecture
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 7 2/2/2009
On P-side: E
c
p n
i
e
E
i
E
F

k T
=
E
i
E
i
E
F
If acceptor concentration moderate (<N
v
)
p =N
a
-
~N
a_total
combine with above:
E
F
E
v
N
a_total
n
i
e
E
i
E
F

k T
=
Inverting this to get energy offset: Offset
p
E
i
E
F
= k T ln
N
a_total
n
i

=
On N-side: E
c
n n
i
e
E
F
E
i

k T
=
E
F
E
F
E
i

E
i
But if donor concentration is moderate (<N
c
)
n =N
d
+
~N
d_total
combine with above:
E
v
N
d_total
n
i
e
E
F
E
i

k T
=
Inverting to get energy offset: Offset
n
E
F
E
i
= k T ln
N
d_total
n
i

=
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 8 2/2/2009
Add these two offsets to get total offset / step in energy going across junction
E
total
Offset
p
Offset
n
+ = k T ln
N
a_total
n
i

k T ln
N
d_total
n
i

+ =
Using ln(a) +ln(b) =ln(ab)
E
total
k T ln
N
a_total
N
d_total

n
i
2

= E
total
k T ln
N
a
N
d

n
i
2

=
or in more common notation
Divide by q to convert to the voltage spontaneously formed voltage step across the junction
Important:
N
a
=Acceptor concentration on P-side
N
d
=Donor concentration on N-side
V
bi
k T
q
ln
N
a
N
d

n
i
2

=
"Built-in J unction Voltage"
TEST ALERT: V
bi
has nothing to do with voltages that are applied via external batteries or power supplies
V
bi
is spontaneous internal voltage developed by the rearrangement of holes & electrons!
Misunderstanding of this =One of J ohn's Most Popular Test Errors!
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 9 2/2/2009
Now know the energy / voltage step formed - But have no handle on how wide the "depletion layer" is
The "Depletion Approximation"
From carrier formulas, know that: Carrier concentration e
(displacement Fermi Energy)/kT
W
Carriers
p
E
i
=>
E
F
n
Because carrier concentration changes as EXPONENTIAL of E
F
-E
i
, carrier changes are more abrupt
DEPLETION APPROXIMATION =Assume edges of carrier profiles are in VERTICAL:
p
p
=>
n
n
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 10 2/2/2009
Then the NET charge in the depletion layer (between the p and n regions) is now due acceptors & donors alone
Net charge: Or:
Charge
x
n W
N
d
x
p
x
n
x
N
a
x
p
P-side N-side
Can now solve for (x), W, x
p
and x
n
For simplicity, reset origin to the "Metallurgical J unction" between P-N (boundary between N
a
and N
d
)
N
d
x
p

x
And again haul out Gauss's Law:
x ( )
x ( )

=
x
n
N
a
Integrate once:
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 11 2/2/2009
x ( )
x
p

x
x'
x' ( )

d = For x
p
x 0 , know charge density is -q
N
a
x ( )
x
p

x
x'
q N
a

d =
q N
a
x

q N
a
x
p

( )

+ =
q N
a
x x
p
+
( )

= for x
p
x 0
x ( )
q N
a
x x
p
+
( )

= for x
p
x 0 which gives: 0 ( )
q N
a
x
p

= (equations 1 & 2)
Integrating from 0 to x
n
:
x ( ) x'
x' ( )

d = But for 0 x x
n
, know that charge density is +q N
d
x ( ) x'
q N
d

d =
q N
d
x

C + = Solving for (0) and setting equal to (0) found in equation 2


C
q N
a
x
p

= which then gives


Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 12 2/2/2009
x ( )
q N
d
x

q N
a
x
p

= for 0 x x
n
Giving global results for
x ( )
q N
a
x x
p
+
( )

= for
x
p
x 0
0 ( )
q N
a
x
p

=
x ( )
q N
d
x

q N
a
x
p

= for 0 x x
n

(equations 3, 4 & 5)
Know that must be constant outside these ranges - and that constant must be zero (no charge!)
From first equation, at left end of depletion layer: x
p

( )
0 = fine!
From third equation, at right end of depletion layer: x
n
( )
q N
d
x
n

q N
a
x
p

= must also =0!


Implies: N
d
x
n
N
a
x
p
= (equation 6)
Total charge left of junction: Q
left
q N
a
x
p
= Total charge right of junction: Q
right
q N
d
x
n
=
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 13 2/2/2009
So equation 6 is equivalent to saying the magnitude of the total charge on each side of the junction is equal
Makes perfect sense: We built up uncovered ionic charges as we lost electrons and holes
But when we lost a hole we also lost an electron (they recombined!)
Summarizing and Q:

N
d
Q
right x
p
x
n x
p

x
n
Q
left
N
a
Q
left
Q
right
=

max
0 ( ) =
q Na x
n

=
q N
d
x
n

=
Now recalling that =- Voltage, can integrate to get V(x)
x
p
x 0 V x ( )
x
p

x
x' x' ( )

d = Substituting in from equation 3 above


Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 14 2/2/2009
V x ( )
x
p

x
x'
q N
a
x' x
p
+
( )

d =
q N
a

x
p

x
x' x' x
p
+
( )

d =
q N
a

0
x x
p
+
x' x'

d =
q N
a

x x
p
+
( )
2
2
=
x
p
x < 0
V x ( )
q N
a

x x
p
+
( )
2
2
= (equation 7)
And similarly integrating to right of x =0
0 x x
n

V x ( ) x' x' ( )

d = x'
q N
d
x'

q N
a
x
p

d = use equation 6: N
a
x
p
N
d
x
n
=
V x ( ) x'
q N
d
x'

q N
d
x
n

d =
q N
d

x' x' x
n

d =
q N
d

x
2
2
x
n
x

C' + =
V x ( )
q N
d

x
2
2
x
n
x

C' + = 0 x x
n
< (equation 8)
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 15 2/2/2009
But Voltage must be continuous at x =0 (or would have infinite ) so equations 7 & 8 must be equal there
q N
a

0 x
p
+
( )
2
2

q N
d

0
2
2
x
n
x

C' + = =>
q N
a
x
p
2

2
C' =
Putting this into equation 8, and summarizing
x <x
p
V =0
x
p
x 0 V x ( )
q N
a

2
x x
p
+
( )
2
=
0 x x
n
V x ( )
q N
d

x
n
x
x
2
2

q N
a

2
x
p
2
+ =
V x ( )
parabolic curvature down
parabolic curvature up
x
x
p
x
n 0
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 16 2/2/2009
But Voltage =Potential Energy / Positive Charge
So negative of this must be: Potential Energy / Negative Charge = Our Band Diagrams!
So net Voltage step =Net junction energy step / q =V
bi
from early in lecture!
Solve for voltage at x
n
:
V x
n
( )
q N
d

x
n
2
x
n
2
2

q N
a

2
x
p
2
+ =
q N
d

2
x
n
2

q N
a

2
x
p
2
+ =
V
bi
q N
d

2
x
n
2

q N
a

2
x
p
2
+ =
(two unknowns x
n
& x
p
)
Compared to earlier derivation of V
bi
:
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 17 2/2/2009
V
bi
k T
q
ln
N
a
N
d

n
i
2

=
(no unknowns)
Combined with equation 6: N
a
x
p
N
d
x
n
= comparison will yield explicit values of x
p
, x
n
and W !
Next Time!
Semiconductor_Devices_16.xmcd 18 2/2/2009