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Solid State Electronics

Text Book
Ben. G. Streetman and Sanjay Banerjee: Solid State
Electronic Devices, Prentice-Hall of India Private
Limited.

Chapter 3 and 4

Metals, Semiconductors, and Insulators
Insulator: A very poor conductor of electricity is
called an insulator.
In an insulator material the valance band
is filled while the conduction band is empty.
The conduction band and valance band in
the insulator are separated by a large forbidden
band or energy gap (almost 10 eV).
In an insulator material, the energy which
can be supplied to an electron from a applied field
is too small to carry the particle from the field
valance band into the empty conduction band.
Since the electron cannot acquire
sufficient applied energy, conduction is
impossible in an insulator.

Semiconductor: A substance whose conductivity lies between
insulator and conductor is a semiconductor.
A substance for which the width of the forbidden energy
region is relatively small (almost 1 eV) is called semiconductor.
In a semiconductor material, the energy which can be supplied to
an electron from a applied field is too small to carry the particle
from the field valance band into the empty conduction band at 0
K.
As the temperature is increased, some of the valance band
electrons acquire thermal energy. Thus, the semiconductors allow
for excitation of electrons from the valance band to conduction
band.
These are now free electrons in the sense that they can move
about under the influence of even a small-applied field.
Metal: A metal is an excellent conductor.
In metals the band either overlap or are only partially
filled.
Thus electrons and empty energy states are intermixed within the
bands so that electrons can move freely under the influence of an
electric field.

an electron in the conduction band can fall to an empty state in the valence band. giving off the energy difference Eg as a photon of light. . A direct semiconductor such as GaAs. According to Eq. (3-1) the energy (E) vs propagation constant (k) curve is shown in the figure.Direct and Indirect Semiconductors Direct Material: The material (such as GaAs) in which a transition of an electron from the minimum point of conduction band to the maximum point of valence band takes place with the same value of K (propagation constant or wave vector) is called direct semiconductor material.

In an indirect transition which involves a change in k. It may go through some defect state (Et) within the band gap. (3-1) the energy (E) vs propagation constant (k) curve is shown in the figure.Indirect Material: The material (such as Si) in which a transition of an electron from the minimum point of conduction band to the maximum point of valence band takes place with the different values of K (propagation constant or wave vector) is called indirect material. According to Eq. An electron in the conduction band minimum of an indirect semiconductor cannot fall directly to the valence band maximum but must undergo a momentum change as well as changing its energy. . the energy is generally given up as heat to the lattice rather than as emitted photon.

These EHPs are the only charge carriers in intrinsic material. At high temperature electron-hole pairs are generated as valence band electrons are excited thermally across the band gap to the conduction band. In intrinsic material. since the valence band is filled with electrons and the conduction band is empty. Each of these intrinsic carrier concentrations is commonly referred to as ni. the conduction band electron concentration n (electron/cm3) is equal to the concentration of holes in the valence band p (holes/cm3). . Since the electrons and holes are crated in pairs. Thus for intrinsic material: n=p=ni (3-6) At a temperature there is a carrier concentration of EHPs ni. there are no charge carrier at 0K.Intrinsic Material A perfect semiconductor with no impurities or lattice defect is called an intrinsic material.

and a new carrier concentration ni is established such that the higher recombination rate ri(T) just balances generation. the rate of recombination of electrons and holes ri is proportional to the equilibrium concentration of electrons n0 and the concentration of holes p0: ri=rn0p0= rni2=gi (3-7b) The factor r is a constant of proportionality which depends on the particular mechanism takes place.Recombination is occurs when an electron in the conduction band makes transition to an empty state (hole) in the valence band. thus annihilating the pair. equilibrium requires that ri=gi (3-7a) Each of these rates is temperature dependent. If we denote the generation rate of EHPs as gi (EHP/cm3-s) and the recombination rate ri. . gi(T) increases when the temperature is raised. At any temperature.

There are two types of doped semiconductors. An impurity from column V of the periodic table (P. This process. In addition to the intrinsic carriers generated. is the most common technique for varying conductivity of semiconductor. As and Sb) introduces an energy level very near the conduction band in Ge or Si. . it is possible to create carriers in semiconductors by purposely introducing impurities into the crystal. n-type (mostly electrons) and p-type (mostly holes). the material is said to be extrinsic material.Extrinsic Material When a crystal is doped such that the equilibrium carrier concentrations n0 and p0 are different from carrier concentration ni. called doping.

. Thus at 50-100K virtually all of the electrons in the impurity level are. and very little thermal energy is required to excite these electrons to the conduction band (Fig. “donated” to the conduction band. 3-12 (a) Donation of electrons from donor level to conduction band. Semiconductors doped with a significant number of donor atoms will have n0>>(ni.p0) at room temperature. 3-12a). Fig.The energy level very near the conduction band is filled with electrons at 0K. This is n-type material. Such an impurity level is called a donor level and the column V impurities in Ge or Si are called donor impurities.

Ga and In) introduces an energy level very near the valence band in Ge or Si.Similarly. 3. leaving behind holes in the valence band. enough thermal energy is available to excite electrons from the valence into the impurity level. and the column III impurities are acceptor impurities in the Ge and Si. These levels are empty of electrons at 0K (Fig. Doping with acceptor impurities can create a semiconductor with a hole concentration p0 much greater that the conduction band electron concentration n0. Since this type of impurity level “accepts” electrons from the valence band. Al. 3-12b). an impurity from column III of the periodic table (B. it is called an acceptor level. At low temperatures. This type is p-type material. Fig.12b .

The distribution of electrons over a range of allowed energy levels at thermal equilibrium is 1 f (E)  1  e( E  EF ) / kT where. and it represents an important quantity in the analysis of semiconductor behavior. gives the probability that an available energy state at E will be occupied by an electron at absolute temperature T. k is Boltzmann’s constant (k=8. The quantity EF is called the Fermi level. . Fermi-Dirac distribution function can be used.Carrier concentration The calculating semiconductor properties and analyzing device behavior. To obtain equation for the carrier concentration. the Fermi-Dirac distribution function. The function f(E). it is often necessary to know the number of charge carriers per cm3 in the material.2610-5 eV/K=1.3810-23 J/K).

the probability f(EF +E) of electron that a state E above EF is filled is the same as probability [1-f(EF-E)] of hole that a state E below EF is empty. the occupation probability is 1 1 f ( EF )  1 e ( E F  E F ) / kT  2 The significant of Fermi Level is that the probability of electron and hole is 50 percent at the Fermi energy level. With T=0K in the denominator of the exponent. . the Fermi function is symmetrical about EF for all temperature. At 0K the distribution takes the simple rectangular form shown in Fig. 3-14. f(E) is 1/(1+0)=1 when the exponent is negative (E<EF).For an energy E equal to the Fermi level energy EF. that is. and is 1/(1+)=0 when the exponent is positive (E>EF). And.

3-14 there is some probability f(E) that states above EF are filled. and all states above EF are empty. and there is a corresponding probability [1f(E)] that states below EF are empty. The symmetry of the distribution of empty and filled states about EF makes the Fermi level a natural reference point in calculations of electron and hole concentration in semiconductors.This rectangular distribution implies that at 0K every available energy state up to EF is filled with electrons. At temperature higher than 0K. some probability exists for states above the Fermi level to be filled. . At T=T1 in Fig.

the electron probability ‘tail’ if f(E) extending into the conduction band of Fig. Since f(E) is symmetrical about EF.For intrinsic material. 3-15(a) Intrinsic Material . Therefore. Fig. 3-15a is symmetrical with the hole probability tail [1-f(E)] in the valence band. the Fermi level EF must lies at the middle of the band gap. the concentration of holes in the valence band is equal to the concentration of electrons in the conduction band.

15(c) ptype material In p-type material the Fermi level lies near the valence band (Fig.EF) gives measure of n.f(E)] tail value Ev is larger than the f(E) tail above Ec.15(b) ntype material Thus the energy difference (Ec. . Fig. 3-15c) such that the [1.In n-type material the Fermi level lies near the conduction band (Fig. 3. The value of (EF-Ev) indicates how strongly p-type the material is. Fig. 3-15b) such that the value of f(E) for each energy level in the conduction band increases as EF moves closer to Ec. 3.

6210-5 eV/K320=2758. Ea-EF={0.03 eV above the valence band.87 eV kT= 8. determine the probability of occupancy of the acceptor states if the acceptor states relocated at 0.4 eV we know that.1-0.Example: The Fermi level in a Si sample at equilibrium is located at 0. Solution: From above figure.0 .2 eV below the conduction band.2)} eV= -0.03-(1. f ( Ea )  1 1 e ( Ea  E F ) / kT  1 1 e 0.87 /( 2758. At T=320K.4105 )  1.

Electron and Hole Concentrations at Equilibrium The concentration of electron and hole in the conduction band and valance are  n0  E f ( E ) N ( E )dE c p0  Ev [1  f ( E )] N ( E )dE (3.12b) where N(E)dE is the density of states (cm-3) in the energy range dE. (3.12). The subscript 0 used with the electron and hole concentration symbols (n0. The number of electrons (holes) per unit volume in the energy range dE is the product of the density of states and the probability of occupancy f(E) [1-f(E)]. so the density of states in the conduction (valance) band increases (decreases) with electron (hole) energy. The function N(E) is proportional to E(1/2). .12a) (3. p0) indicates equilibrium conditions. Thus the total electron (hole) concentration is the integral over the entire conduction (valance) band as in Eq.

Fig. This effect is demonstrated for intrinsic. .Similarly. n-type and p-type materials in Fig.16 (a) Concentration of electrons and holes in intrinsic material. the probability of finding an empty state (hole) in the valence band [1-f(E)] decreases rapidly below Ev. 3-16. 3. and most hole occupy states near the top of the valence band.

. 3.16 (b) Concentration of electrons and holes in n-type material. Fig. 3.16 (a) Concentration of electrons and holes in p-type material.Fig.

we obtain n0 p0  Nce ( Ec  EF ) / kT n0 p0  Nc Nve Nve ( Ec  Ev ) / kT ( EF  Ev ) / kT  Nc Nve  E g / kT (3.15) and (3. provided thermal equilibrium is maintained. (3. EF lies at some intrinsic level Ei near the middle of the band gap. Thus for intrinsic material.21) From Eqs.The electron and hole concentrations predicted by Eqs. (3-15) and (318) are valid whether the material is intrinsic or doped.18). pi  Nve( Ei  Ev ) / kT (3. and the intrinsic electron and hole concentrations are ni  Nce( Ec  Ei ) / kT .22) .

even if the doping is varied. . The intrinsic electron and hole concentrations are equal.23).24) can be written conveniently from (3.25) At room temperature (300K) is: For Si approximately ni=1.22) and (3. (3. the product of n0 and p0 at equilibrium is a constant for a particular material and temperature. ni=pi.From Eq. we obtain ni pi  Nc e( Ec  Ei ) / kT Nv e( Ei  Ev ) / kT ni pi  Nc Nve ( Ec  Ev ) / kT  Nc Nve  E g / kT (3.23) From Eqs. (21).22) and (3.51013 cm-3. (3. thus from Eq.23) the intrinsic concentrations is ni  Nc Nv e  E g / 2 kT (3.51010 cm-3. For Ge approximately ni=2.23) as n0 p0  ni2 (3.24) The constant product of electron and hole concentrations in Eq. (3.

26) into (3.18).15). we obtain n0  ni e( Ec  Ei ) / kT e( Ec  EF ) / kT  ni e( Ec  Ei  Ec  EF ) / kT ( Ei  EF ) / kT ( EF  Ei ) / kT n0  ni e  ni e (3.27) that the electron concentrations n0 increases exponentially as the Fermi level moves away from Ei toward the conduction band.21).26) into (3.28) It seen from the equation (3. we obtain p0  pi e( Ei  Ev ) / kT e( EF  Ev ) / kT  ni e( Ei  Ev  EF  Ev ) / kT p0  ni e ( EF  Ei ) / kT  ni e ( Ei  EF ) / kT (3.From Eq.26) Substitute the value of Nc from (3. (3.27) Substitute the value of Nv from (3. the hole concentrations p0 varies from ni to larger values as EF moves from Ei toward the valence band. Similarly. . we can write as N c  ni e( Ec  Ei ) / kT N v  pi e ( Ei  Ev ) / kT (3.

(3. 3.Temperature Dependence of Carrier Concentrations The variation of carrier concentration with temperature is indicated by Eq.21) ni  Nce ( Ec  Ei ) / kT . ni  Nc Nv e  E g / 2 kT (3.24) The temperature dependence of electron concentration in a doped semiconductor can be visualized as shown in Fig. pi  Nve ( Ei  Ev ) / kT (3.24) and that EF can vary with temperature. 3-18.21) The intrinsic carrier ni has a strong temperature dependence (Eq. .

since one electron is obtained for each donor atom. . and the donor electrons are bound to the donor atoms. At very low temperature (large 1/T) negligible intrinsic EHPs exist. Si is doped n-type with donor concentration Nd of 1015 cm-3. 10 donors/cm 15 called ionization region. and at about 100K (1000/T=10) all the donor atoms are ionized. for Si doped with This temperature range is inverse temperature 3. As the temperature is raised. these electrons are donated to the conduction band.In this example. the conduction band electron concentration is n0Nd=1015 cm-3. Figure 3-18 Carrier concentration vs. Once the donor atoms are ionized.

When every available extrinsic electron has been transferred to the conduction band. In most devices it is desirable to control the carrier concentration by doping rather than by thermal EHP generation. at higher temperature ni is much greater than Nd. no is virtually constant with temperature until the concentration of intrinsic carriers ni becomes comparable to the extrinsic concentration Nd. and the intrinsic carriers dominate. Finally. . Thus one usually dopes the material such that the extrinsic range extends beyond the highest temperature at which the device to be used.

In order to measure the band gap energy. are created by external excitation is called excess carriers.Excess Carrier in Semiconductors The carriers. This type of band gap measurement gives an accurate value of band gap energy because photons with energies greater than the band gap energy are absorbed while photons with energies less than band gap are transmitted. and relative transmission of the various photons is observed. The excess carriers can be created by optical excitation or electron bombardment. which are excess of the thermal equilibrium carries values. the photons of selected wavelengths are directed at the sample. . Optical Absorption Measurement of band gap energy: The band gap energy of a semiconductor can be measured by the absorption of incident photons by the material.

they must even eventually recombine.Excess carriers by optical excitation: It is apparent from Fig. 4-1 indicates. the probability Figure 4-1 Optical absorption of a photon with of photon absorption is high. however. 4-1 that a photon with energy hv>Eg can be absorbed in a semiconductor. Since the valence band contains many electrons and conduction band has many empty states into which the electron may be excited. The electron and hole created by this absorption process are excess carriers: since they are out of balance with their environment. an electron absorption (b) the excited electron gives up excited to the conduction band by optical energy to the lattice by scattering events. . While the excess carriers exit in their respective bands. they are free to contribute to the conduction of material. band electrons. Thus the excited electron losses energy to the lattice in scattering events until its velocity reaches the thermal equilibrium velocity of other conduction band electrons. (c) absorption may initially have more the electron recombines with a hole in the energy than is common for conduction valence band. hv>Eg: (a) an EHP is created during photon Fig.

its intensity at a distance x from the surface can be calculated by considering the probability of absorption with in any increment dx.1) dx . The degradation of the intensity –dI(x)/dx is proportional to the intensity remaining at x:  dI( x)  I( x) (4. The ratio of transmitted to incident light intensity depends on the photon wavelength and the thickness of the sample. determined by the properties of the material. there will be some predictable amount of absorption. 4-2. As the beam passes through the sample.I0 It If a beam of photons with hv>Eg falls on a semiconductor. The beam contains only photons of wavelength  selected by monochromator. let us assume that a photon beam of intensity I0 (photons/cm-2-s) is directed at a sample of thickness l as shown in Fig.

Figure 4-3 Dependence of optical absorption coefficient  for a semiconductor on the wavelength of incident light. This coefficient varies with the photon wavelength and with the material. wavelength. The relation between photon energy and wavelength is E=hc/.3) The coefficient  is called the absorption coefficient and has units of cm-1. this becomes E=1. .The solution to this equation is I( x) I ex 0 (4. There is negligible absorption at long wavelength (hv small) and considerable absorptions with energies larger than Eg.2) and the intensity of light transmitted through the sample thickness l is It I el 0 (4. If E is given in electron volt and  is micrometers.24/. 4-3 shows the plot of  vs. Fig.

11) For steady state recombination and no traping.Steady State Carrier Generation The thermal generation of EHPs is balanced by the recombination rate that means [Eq.12) as gop   r [(n0  p0 )n]  (n /  n ) where.7] g (T ) r n2 r n p (4.10) i 0 0 If a steady state light is shone on the sample.11) becomes g (T )  gop   r n0 p0   r [(n0  p0 )n  n 2 ] (4. (4.  n  (4.13) 1 is the carrier life time.14) . we can rewrite Eq. an optical generation rate gop will be added to the thermal generation. thus Eq.12) Since g(T)==rn0p0 and neglecting the n2. (4. If n and p are the carrier concentrations which are departed from equilibrium: g (T )  gop   r np   r (n0  n)( p0  p) (4. 3. and the carrier concentration n and p will increase to new steady sate values. n=p.  r (n0  p0 ) The excess carrier can be written as n  p  gop n (4.

The steady state concentrations in the same form as the equilibrium expressions by defining separate quasi-Fermi levels Fn and Fp for electrons and holes. (4.Quasi-Fermi Level The Fermi level EF used in previous equations is meaningful only when no excess carriers are present. The resulting carrier concentration equations n  ni e( Fn  Ei ) / KT .15) . p  ni e ( Ei  F p ) / KT can be considered as defining relation for the quasiFermi levels.