Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
Lecture 4
Density of States and Fermi Energy Concepts
Reading:
(Cont’d) Notes and Anderson
2
sections 2.82.13
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Density of States Concept
In lower level courses, we state that “Quantum Mechanics” tells us that the
number of available states in a cubic cm per unit of energy, the density of states,
is given by:
eV
cm
States of Number
unit
E E
E E m m
E g
E E
E E m m
E g
v
v p p
v
c
c n n
c

.

\

÷
s
÷
=
>
÷
=
3
3 2
* *
3 2
* *
,
) ( 2
) (
,
) ( 2
) (
t
t
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Density of States Concept
Thus, the number of states per cubic centimeter between
energy E’ and E’+dE is
otherwise
and
and
0
, E E’ if )dE (E’ g
, E E’ if )dE (E’ g
v v
c c
s
>
But where does it come from?
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Where Does the Density of States Concept come from?
Approach:
1. Find the smallest volume of kspace that can hold an electron. This will turn out to
be related to the largest volume of real space that can confine the electron.
2. Next assume that the average energy of the free electrons (free to move), the fermi
energy E
f
, corresponds to a wave number k
f
. This value of k
f
, defines a volume in
kspace for which all the electrons must be within.
3. We then simply take the ratio of the total volume needed to account for the average
energy of the system to the smallest volume able to hold an electron ant that tells
us the number of electrons.
4. From this we can differentiate to get the density of states distribution.
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
First a needed tool: Consider an electron trapped in an energy well with infinite potential barriers.
Recall that the reflection coefficient for infinite potential was 1 so the electron can not penetrate the
barrier.
After Neudeck and Pierret Figure 2.4a
( ) ( )
( )
2
2 2 2
n
2 2
2
2
2
2
2
2 2
2
2
2
E and sin ) (
3... , 2 1, n for
a
n
k 0 ka Asin 0 (a)
0 B 0 ) 0 (
: Conditions Boundary
2
or E
2 2
k where
cos sin ) ( : Solution General
0
0
2
2
ma
n
a
x n
A x
m
k mE
kx B kx A x
k
x
E
x m
E V
m
n n
t t
t
ì
t
=

.

\

= +
± ± ± = = ¬ = ¬ = +
= ¬ = +
= = =
+ = +
= + +
c
+ c
= + ÷
c
+ c
÷
+ = +


.

\

+ V ÷
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
What does it mean?
After Neudeck and Pierret Figure 2.4c,d,e
2
2 2 2
n
2
E and sin ) (
ma
n
a
x n
A x
n n
t t
=

.

\

= +
A standing wave results from
the requirement that there be a
node at the barrier edges (i.e.
BC’s: +(0)=+(a)=0 ) . The
wavelength determines the
energy. Many different possible
“states” can be occupied by the
electron, each with different
energies and wavelengths.
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
What does it mean?
After Neudeck and Pierret Figure 2.5
2
2 2 2
n
2
E and sin ) (
ma
n
a
x n
A x
n n
t t
=

.

\

= +
Recall, a free particle has E ~k
2
.
Instead of being continuous in k
2
, E is
discrete in n
2
! I.e. the energy values
(and thus, wavelengths/k) of a
confined electron are quantized (take
on only certain values). Note that as
the dimension of the “energy well”
increases, the spacing between
discrete energy levels (and discrete k
values) reduces. In the infinite
crystal, a continuum same as our free
particle solution is obtained.
Solution for much larger “a”. Note:
offset vertically for clarity.
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
We can use this idea of a set of states in a confined space ( 1D well region) to derive the
number of states in a given volume (volume of our crystal).
Consider the surfaces of a volume of semiconductor to be infinite potential barriers (i.e.
the electron can not leave the crystal). Thus, the electron is contained in a 3D box.
After Neudeck and Pierret Figure 4.1 and 4.2
m
k mE
k
z y x
E
x m
E V
m
2
or E
2 2
k where
c z 0 b, y 0 a, x 0 ...for
0
0
2
2
2 2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2 2
2
2
= = =
< < < < < <
= + +
c
+ c
+
c
+ c
+
c
+ c
= + ÷
c
+ c
÷
+ = +


.

\

+ V ÷
ì
t
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
Using separation of variables...
2 2 2 2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
0
) (
) (
1
, 0
) (
) (
1
, 0
) (
) (
1
0
) (
) (
1
) (
) (
1 ) (
) (
1
get... we (2) by dividing and (1) into (2) Inserting
) ( ) ( ) ( ) , , ( (2)
0 (1)
z y x
z
z
z
y
y
y
x
x
x
z
z
y
y
x
x
z y x
k k k k where
k
z
z
z
k
y
y
y
k
x
x
x
k
z
z
z y
y
y x
x
x
z y x z y x
k
z y x
+ + =
= +
c
+ c
+
= +
c
+ c
+
= +
c
+ c
+
= +
c
+ c
+
+
c
+ c
+
+
c
+ c
+
+ + + = +
= + +
c
+ c
+
c
+ c
+
c
+ c
Since k is a constant for a given energy, each of the three terms on the left side must
individually be equal to a constant.
So this is just 3 equivalent 1D solutions which we have already done...
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
Cont’d...
( ) ( ) ( )


.

\

+ + =
± ± ± = = = =
= +
+ + + = +
2
2
2
2
2
2 2 2
nz ny, nx,
z
z
y
y
x
x
2
E and
3... , 2 1, n for ,
a
n
k ,
a
n
k ,
a
n
k where
sin sin sin ) , , (
) ( ) ( ) ( ) , , (
c
n
b
n
a
n
m
z k y k x k A z y x
z y x z y x
z
y
x
z y x
z y x
t
t
t
t
0
a
t
b
t
c
t
k
x
k
y
k
z
Each solution (i.e. each
combination of n
x
, n
y
, n
z
)
results in a volume of “k
space”. If we add up all
possible combinations, we
would have an infinite
solution. Thus, we will only
consider states contained in a
“fermisphere” (see next
page).
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
Cont’d...
f
2 2
f
E energy electron average for the value momentum a defines
2
E ¬ =
m
k
f
Volume of a single state “cube”: V
3
state single


.

\

=

.

\


.

\


.

\

=
V c b a
t t t t
Volume of a “fermisphere”:
3
4
V
3
sphere  fermi

.

\

=
f
k t
A “FermiSphere” is
defined by the
number of states in
kspace necessary to
hold all the electrons
needed to add up to
the average energy
of the crystal
(known as the fermi
energy).
“V” is the physical
volume of the
crystal where as all
other volumes used
here refer to volume
in kspace. Note
that: V
singlestate
is the
smallest unit in k
space. V
singlestate
is
required to “hold” a
single electron.
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
Cont’d...
kspace volume of a single state “cube”: V
3
state single


.

\

=

.

\


.

\


.

\

=
V c b a
t t t t
kspace volume of a “fermisphere”:
3
4
V
3
sphere  fermi

.

\

=
f
k t
Number of filled states
in a fermisphere:
2
3
3
3
sin
3
4
3
4
2
1
2
1
2
1
2 N
t
t
t
f
f
state gle
sphere fermi
k V
V
k
x x x
V
V
=


.

\


.

\

=

.

\


.

\


.

\

= ÷
÷
÷
Correction for
allowing 2 electrons
per state (+/ spin)
Correction for redundancy in
counting identical states resulting
from +/ n
x
, +/ n
y
, +/ n
z
.
Specifically, sin(t)=sin(+t) so the
state would be the same. Same as
counting only the positive octant in
fermisphere.
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
Cont’d...
Number of filled states
in a fermisphere:
3
1
2
f
2
3
3
k
3
N


.

\

= ¬ = ÷
V
N
k V
f
t
t
E
f
varies in Si from 0 to ~1.1 eV as n varies from 0 to ~5e21cm
3
( )
density electron the is n where
2
3
E
2
3
2
E
3
2
2 2
f
3
2
2
2
2 2
f
m
n
m
V
N
m
k
f
t
t
= ¬


.

\

= =
2
3
2 2 2
3
2
3 3
N

.

\


.

\

= =
mE V
k V
f
t t
Thus,
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Derivation of Density of States Concept
Cont’d...
E
V
m mE V
3 2
2
2
1
2 2
2m m
G(E)
2 2
3 2
3
G(E)
V
dE
dN
per volume energy per states of # G(E)
t
t
=
(
(
¸
(
¸

.

\


.

\


.

\

=

.

\

= ÷
2
3
2 2 2
3
2
3 3
N

.

\


.

\

= =
mE V
k V
f
t t
Applying to the semiconductor we must recognize mm* and
since we have only considered kinetic energy (not the potential
energy) we have E EE
c
c
E E ÷ =
3 2
* *
2m m
G(E)
t
Finally, we can define the density of states function:
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
Now that we know the number of available states at each energy, how
do the electrons occupy these states?
We need to know how the electrons are “distributed in energy”.
Again, Quantum Mechanics tells us that the electrons follow the
“Fermidistribution function”.
) (~
, tan
1
1
) (
) (
crystal the in energy average energy Fermi E and
Kelvin in e Temperatur T t cons Boltzman k where
e
E f
F
kT
E E
F
÷
÷ ÷
+
=
÷
f(E) is the probability that a state at energy E is occupied
1f(E) is the probability that a state at energy E is unoccupied
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
At T=0K, occupancy is “digital”: No occupation of states above E
F
and
complete occupation of states below E
F
At T>0K, occupation probability is reduced with increasing energy.
f(E=E
F
) = 1/2 regardless of temperature.
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
At T=0K, occupancy is “digital”: No occupation of states above E
F
and
complete occupation of states below E
F
At T>0K, occupation probability is reduced with increasing energy.
f(E=E
F
) = 1/2 regardless of temperature.
At higher temperatures, higher energy states can be occupied, leaving more
lower energy states unoccupied (1f(E)).
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
0.00
0.20
0.40
0.60
0.80
1.00
1.20
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
f
(
E
)
E [eV]
3 kT 3 kT
3 kT 3 kT
+/3 kT
E
f
=0.55 eV
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
For E > (E
f
+3kT):
f(E) ~ e
(EEf)/kT
~0
For E < (E
f
3kT):
f(E) ~ 1e
(EEf)/kT
~1
T=10 K,
kT=0.00086 eV
T=300K,
kT=0.0259
T=450K,
kT=0.039
kT
E E
F
e
E f
) (
1
1
) (
÷
+
=
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
But where did we get the fermi distribution function?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
After Neudeck and Pierret Figure 4.5
Consider a system of N total electrons spread between S allowable states. At each energy, E
i
,
we have S
i
available states with N
i
of these S
i
states filled.
We assume the electrons are indistinguishable
1
.
1
A simple test as to whether a particle
is indistinguishable (statistically
invariant) is when two particles are
interchanged, did the electronic
configuration change?
Constraints for electrons:
(1) Each allowed state can accommodate at most, only one electron (neglecting
spin for the moment)
(2) N=EN
i
=constant; the total number of electrons is fixed
(3) E
total
=EE
i
N
i
; the total system energy is fixed
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
But where did we get the fermi distribution function?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
( ) ! N !
i i i
i
i
N S
S
W
÷
=
How many ways, W
i
, can we arrange at each energy, E
i
, N
i
indistinguishable electrons into
the S
i
available states.
( )
[ [
÷
= =
i
i i
i
i
i
N S
S
W W
! N !
i
When we consider more than one level (i.e. all i’s) the number of ways we can arrange the
electrons increases as the product of the W
i
’s .
If all possible distributions are equally likely, then the probability of obtaining a specific distribution is
proportional to the number of ways that distribution can be constructed (in statistics, this is the
distribution with the most (“complexions”). For example, interchanging the blue and red electron would
result in two different ways (complexions) of obtaining the same distribution. The most probable
distribution is the one that has the most variations that repeat that distribution. To find that maximum,
we want to maximize W with respect to N
i
’s . Thus, we will find dW/dNi = 0. However, to eliminate the
factorials, we will first take the natural log of the above...
... then we will take d(ln[W])/dN
i
=0. Before we do that, we can use Stirling’s Approximation to
eliminate the factorials.
( ) ( )   ( ) ( )
¿
÷ ÷ ÷ =
i
i
! N ln ! ln ! ln ln
i i i
N S S W
or
or
E
i
E
i
E
i
E
i+2
E
i+1
E
i
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
But where did we get the fermi distribution function?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
Using Stirling’s Approximation, ln(x!) ~ (xln(x) – x) so that the above becomes,
( ) ( )   ( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )   ( ) ( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )   ( ) ( )
¿
¿
¿
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ =
+ ÷ ÷ + ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ =
¹
÷ ÷ ÷ =
i
i i
i
i i i
i
i
N ln N ln ln ln
terms, like Collecting
N N ln N ln ln ln
! N ln ! ln ! ln ln
i i i i i i
i i i i i i i i i
i i i
N S N S S S W
N S N S N S S S S W
N S S W
Now we can maximize W with respect to N
i
’s . Note that since d(lnW)=dW/W when dW=0,
d(ln[W])=0. ( ) ( )
  ( ) ( )  
( )   ( ) ( )  
( )
¿
¿
¿ ¿
(
¸
(
¸


.

\

÷ = =
÷ ÷ + ÷ =
÷ ÷ + ÷ =
c
c
=
i
i
i
i
i
i
1 ln 0 ln
1 N ln 1 ln ln
1 N ln 1 ln
ln ln
i
i
i
i i i
i i
i i
dN
N
S
W d
dN N S W d
N S
N
W
dN
W d
To find the maximum, we set the derivative equal to 0...
(4)
( )  
( ) 1 ln
ln
used have we Where + = x
dx
x x d
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
But where did we get the fermi distribution function?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
From our original constraints, (2) and (3), we get...
( )
( )
¿ ¿
¿ ¿
= ¬ =
= ¬ =
i i
i i
0
0
i i total i i
i i
N d E E N E
N d N N
Using the method of undetermined multipliers (Lagrange multiplier method) we multiply the
above constraints by constants –o and – and add to equation 4 to get ...
( )
( )
¿
¿
= ÷
= ÷
i
i
0
0
i i
i
N d E
N d

o
( )
i all for 0 1 ln that requires which
1 ln 0 ln
i
= ÷ ÷


.

\

÷
(
¸
(
¸
÷ ÷


.

\

÷ = =
¹
¿
i
i
i
i i
i
i
E
N
S
dN E
N
S
W d
 o
 o
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
But where did we get the fermi distribution function?
Probability of Occupation (Fermi Function) Concept
This final relationship can be solved for the ratio of filled states, N
i
per states available S
i
...
( )
kT
E E
i
i
i
E
i
i
i
i
i
i
F i
i
e
N
S
E f
e N
S
E f
E
N
S
÷
+
+
= =
= =
+
= =
¹
= ÷ ÷


.

\

÷
1
1
) (
kT
1
and
kT
E

have we tors, semiconduc of of case the in
1
1
) (
0 1 ln
F
 o
 o
 o
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Probability of Occupation
We now have the density of states describing the density of
available states versus energy and the probability of a state
being occupied or empty. Thus, the density of electrons (or
holes) occupying the states in energy between E and E+dE
is:
otherwise
and
and
0
, E E if dE f(E)]  (E)[1 g
, E E if dE f(E) (E) g
v v
c c
s
>
Electrons/cm
3
in the conduction
band between Energy E and E+dE
Holes/cm
3
in the valence band
between Energy E and E+dE
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Band Occupation
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Intrinsic Energy (or Intrinsic Level)
…Equal
numbers of
electrons and
holes
E
f
is said to equal
E
i
(intrinsic
energy) when…
ECE 3080  Dr. Alan Doolittle Georgia Tech
How do electrons and holes populate the bands?
Additional Dopant States
Intrinsic:
Equal number
of electrons
and holes
ntype: more
electrons than
holes
ptype: more
holes than
electrons