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You are on page 1of 5

M.P. Vaughan

April 18, 2014

1 Calculating the Fermi level

1.1 Free carrier concentration

1.1.1 Non-degenerate semiconductor

The free electron concentration n can be given by an integration over energy

n = 2

f()D() d, (1)

where f() is the occupation probability and D() is the density of single-spin

states. The factor of two incorporates electron spin. For a non-degenerate

semiconductor we can use Boltzmann statistics, so that, relative to =

C

f() = exp

C

k

B

T

, (2)

where k

B

T is Boltzmanns constant and T is the temperature. Assuming a

spherical, parabolic conduction band, the density of states is

D() =

(2m

e

)

3/2

4

2

h

3

(

C

)

1/2

(3)

for

C

and zero otherwise, where m

e

is the electron eective mass and

C

is the energy at the conduction band edge. Hence,

n =

(2m

e

)

3/2

2

2

h

3

C

exp

C

k

B

T

(

C

)

1/2

d. (4)

Putting

1

x =

C

k

B

T

(5)

and using

0

x

1/2

e

x

dx =

2

, (6)

we have

n = 2

e

2 h

2

k

B

T

N

C

, (7)

where N

C

is known as the eective density of states. A similar result can be

derived for holes

p = 2

h

2 h

2

k

B

T

N

V

, (8)

where m

h

is the hole eective mass.

1.1.2 Degenerate semiconductor

For a degenerate semiconductor, we must use Fermi-Dirac statistics. The

occupation probability is then given by the Fermi factor

f() =

1

1 + exp ([

F

] /k

B

T)

, (9)

where

F

is the Fermi energy. Putting

=

F

C

k

B

T

, (10)

we can write

n =

(2m

e

)

3/2

2

2

h

3

0

x

1/2

1 + e

x

dx,

= N

C

2

0

x

1/2

1 + e

x

dx,

= N

C

F

1/2

(), (11)

2

where

F

1/2

() =

1

(j + 1)

0

x

j

1 + e

x

dx (12)

is the Fermi-Dirac integral and is the gamma function. A similar relation

holds for holes.

F

j

() does not have an exact analytical solution. However, we may use

the approximation

F

j

()

1

e

+ C

j

()

(13)

where, for j = 1/2

C

1/2

() =

3(/2)

1/2

+ 2.13 +

| 2.13|

12/5

+ 9.6

5/12

3/2

. (14)

1.1.3 Non-parabolic energy bands

When the dispersion relations are non-parabolic, the density of states for

spherical energy surfaces is

D() =

(2m

e

)

3/2

4

2

h

3

1/2

()

d()

d

(15)

where () is dened by

() =

h

2

k

2

2m

e

(16)

In this case, the integral Eq. (??) must usually be solved numerically.

1.2 Donors and acceptors

The free carrier concentration is greatly aected by doping with donors

and/or acceptors. If N

D

and N

A

are the doping concentrations of donors

and acceptors respectively, then the ionised concentrations are given by

N

+

D

= N

D

1

1

1 + (1/2) exp ([

D

F] /k

B

T)

3

and

N

A

=

N

A

1 + 4 exp ([

A

F] /k

B

T)

(17)

where

D

and

A

are the respective ionisation energies. For an n-type semi-

conductor, we usually have

F

A

, and we can take N

A

N

A

.

D

is found

from the hydrogenic model

D

=

m

e

h

2

e

2

4

(18)

where is the permittivity of the material.

1.3 Calculating the Fermi energy

The Fermi level is calculated by imposing the condition of charge neutrality

n + N

A

p N

+

D

= 0 (19)

For an n-type semiconductor, we can take p 0 and N

A

N

A

, as described

previously. Equation (??) must then be solved for

F

numerically. However,

we may draw a few qualitative conclusions before doing so. With the as-

sumptions above, we have n N

+

D

, so we require these two quantities to

vary at the same rate with both

F

and T.

Clearly n will increase with both

F

and T, since increases in both will

increase the occupation probability at higher electron energies. Inspecting

Eq. (??), we see that an increase in

F

will always be accompanied by a

decrease in N

+

D

. The dependency with T depends on the value of

F

relative

to

D

.

Case (1) :

F

<

D

In this case, N

+

D

decreases with T, tending towards a limiting value of

N

D

/3. If

F

were to increase with T, then N

+

D

must necessarily decrease

whilst n must necessarily increase. This cannot be the case and hence

F

must decrease with T.

Case (2) :

F

=

D

Here, N

+

D

is xed at N

D

/3, independent of T. Since n will increase

with T,

F

must change. Now any increase in N

+

D

means that we have

4

N

+

D

> N

D

/3 but this can only be the case for

F

<

D

. Therefore

F

must decrease.

Case (3) :

F

>

D

This case is not quite so straightforward, since N

+

D

increases monotoni-

cally with T. Therefore an increase of N

+

D

with T might reasonably be

accompanied by either an increase or decrease in

F

especially where

dN

+

D

/dT was large. However, as T , N

+

D

N

D

/3, for xed

F

.

If

F

was to always increase with T, N

+

D

could never exceed this value.

At the same time, n would increase inexorably. So, for large T at least,

F

must decrease with temperature.

In conclusion, we can say that most of the time, at least,

F

decreases

with temperature. Exceptions may arise when

F

>

D

(in which case the

semiconductor is likely to be degenerate). However, at high temperatures,

d

F

/dT should always be negative.

For the numerical solution of Eq. (??) we use a bisection method, in

which two values of

F

are

1

and

2

are chosen so that the net charge is

negative (or positive) for

1

and positive (or negative) for

2

. The average

M

= (

1

+

2

)/2 is then found for which the net charge is calculated. In

the next iteration,

M

is then substituted for either

1

or

2

depending on

the sign of the calculated charge. In this way, the interval [

1

,

2

] becomes

progressively smaller until the routine exits when |

1

2

| < , for a chosen

tolerance .

5

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