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SEMICONDUCTORS

Semiconductors
Semiconductor devices

Electronic Properties
Robert M Rose, Lawrence A Shepart, John Wulff
Wiley Eastern Limited, New Delhi (1987)

Energy gap in solids


In the free electron theory a constant potential was assumed inside the solid
In reality the presence of the positive ion cores gives rise to a varying
potential field

The travelling electron wave interacts with this periodic potential


(for a crystalline solid)
The electron wave can be Bragg diffracted

Bragg diffraction from a 1D solid

n = 2d Sin

k
Critical

1D =90o

n = 2d

n
d Sin

2d

2d, d, , ...
3

k Critical

2
3

,
,
, ...
d
d
d

The Velocity of electrons for the above values of k are zero


These values of k and the corresponding E are forbidden in the solid
The waveform of the electron wave is two standing waves
The standing waves have a periodic variation in amplitude and hence the
electron probability density in the crystal
The potential energy of the electron becomes a function of its position
(cannot be assumed to be constant (and zero) as was done in the
free electron model)

E
2

h k
E
8 2 m
Band gap

The magnitude of the Energy gap between two bands is the difference
in the potential energy of two electron locations

K.E of the electron increasing


Decreasing velocity of the electron
ve effective mass (m*) of the electron

Within a band

Effective energy gap Forbidden gap Band gap

n
k
d Sin
k

d Sin 90

d Sin 45o
[110]

[100]

Effective gap

k
d

The effective gap for all directions of motion is called the forbidden gap
There is no forbidden gap if the maximum of a band for one direction of
motion is higher than the minimum for the higher band for another
direction of motion this happens if the potential energy of the electron
is not a strong function of the position in the crystal

Energy band diagram: METALS


Divalent metals
Monovalent metals

Monovalent metals: Ag, Cu, Au 1 e in the outermost orbital


outermost energy band is only half filled
Divalent metals: Mg, Be overlapping conduction and valence bands
they conduct even if the valence band is full
Trivalent metals: Al similar to monovalent metals!!!
outermost energy band is only half filled !!!

Energy band diagram: SEMICONDUCTORS

2-3 eV

Elements of the 4th column (C, Si, Ge, Sn, Pb) valence band full but no
overlap of valence and conduction bands
Diamond PE as strong function of the position in the crystal
Band gap is 5.4 eV
Down the 4th column the outermost orbital is farther away from the nucleus
and less bound the electron is less strong a function of the position
in the crystal reducing band gap down the column

Energy band diagram: INSULATORS

> 3 eV

Intrinsic semiconductors
At zero K very high field strengths (~ 1010 V/m) are required to move an
electron from the top of the valence band to the bottom of the
conduction band
Thermal excitation is an easier route

P(E)

EF

Eg

Eg/2

0.5

T>0K

E E F Silicon

1
P( E )
E EF
1 exp

kT
Eg

2

0.55 eV
Silicon

E E F

kT 0.026 eV

Eg
2

E EF
1
kT

Unity in denominator can be ignored

Eg
P( E ) exp

2
kT

Eg
ne N exp

2
kT

ne Number of electrons promoted


across the gap
(= no. of holes in the valence band)
N Number of electrons available
at the top of the valance band
for excitation

Conduction in an intrinsic semiconductor

Under applied field the electrons (thermally excited into the conduction
band) can move using the vacant sites in the conduction band
Holes move in the opposite direction in the valence band
The conductivity of a semiconductor depends on the concentration of
these charge carriers (ne & nh)
Similar to drift velocity of electrons under an applied field in metals in
semiconductors the concept of mobility is used to calculate conductivity

drift velocity
Mobility
field gradient

m/s
2

m
/V / s
V / m

ne e e nh e h
Mobility of electrons and holes in Si & Ge (at room temperature)

Species

Mobility (m2 / V / s)
Si

Ge

Electrons

0.14

0.39

Holes

0.05

0.19

Conductivity as a function of temperature

ne e e nh e h

Eg
N e ( e h ) exp

2kT
Eg
C exp

2kT
2kT

Ln()

ln C1

Eg

Eg
2k

1/T (/K)

Extrinsic semiconductors
The addition of doping elements significantly increases the conductivity
of a semiconductor

Doping of Si

V column element (P, As, Sb) the extra unbonded electron


is practically free (with a radius of motion of ~ 80 )
Energy level near the conduction band
n- type semiconductor
III column element (Al, Ga, In) the extra electron for bonding
supplied by a neighbouring Si atom leaves a hole in Si.
Energy level near the valence band
p- type semiconductor

Ionization Energy

n-type

EF

EIonization
Eg
Donor level

Energy required to promote an


electron from the Donor level to
conduction band

EIonization < Eg

even at RT large fraction of


the donor electrons are exited
into the conduction band

Electrons in the conduction band are the majority charge carriers


The fraction of the donor level electrons excited into the conduction band
is much larger than the number of electrons excited from the valence band
Law of mass action: (ne)conduction band x (nh)valence band = Constant

The number of holes is very small in an n-type semiconductor


Number of electrons Number of holes

p-type

Acceptor level

EF

Eg
EIonization

At zero K the holes are bound to the dopant atom


As T the holes gain thermal energy and break away from the dopant atom
available for conduction
The level of the bound holes are called the acceptor level (which can accept
and electron) and acceptor level is close to the valance band
Holes are the majority charge carriers
Intrinsically excited electrons are small in number
Number of electrons Number of holes

Ionization energies for dopants in Si & Ge (eV)


Type

n-type

Element

In Si

In Ge

0.044

0.012

As

0.049

0.013

Sb

0.039

0.010

0.045

0.010

Al

0.057

0.010

Ga

0.065

0.011

In

0.16

0.011

p-type

104
Eg

Intrinsic

slope

All dopant atoms have been excited

2k

103
(/ Ohm / K)

Exhaustion

102
Exponential
function

101
10

50 K

+ve slope due to


Temperature dependent
mobility term
0.02

0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1


1/T (/K)

Slope can be used


for the calculation
of EIonization
10 K

Semiconductor device chose the flat region where the conductivity does
not change much with temperature
Thermistor (for measuring temperature) maximum sensitivity is
required