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Unit V Ch. 8: Physics of semiconductors

A Semiconductor is a solid which behaves as an insulator at absolute zero whose resistivity lies between 10 -4 to 0.5 -m. They have negative temperature coefficient of resistance in which the current conduction is carried out by electrons and holes.

There are two types of semiconductors. 1. Intrinsic Semiconductor

Intrinsic Semiconductor

2. Extrinsic Semiconductor

A semiconductor in which charge carriers are created only by increasing temperature is known as an intrinsic semiconductor.

Expression for density of electrons in the conduction band

The number of electrons per unit volume in the conduction band at an equilibrium temperature is called density (concentration) of electrons.

Let dn be the number of electrons in the conduction band in the energy

interval dE between temperature T.

E

and

E+dE

in

the

conduction

band

at

any

dn= Z(E) F(E) dE

WhereZ(E) dE is the density of energy states in the energy interval dE and F(E) is the probability of occupation of an electron in the energy state E.

If E c is the bottom of the conduction band, then the density of electrons in

the conduction band is

n

Z ( E )F ( E )dE

E

c

Now,

Z E dE

(

)

4

h

3

(2 )

m

3/ 2

1/ 2

E dE

can be written as

Z E dE

(

)

4

h

3

(2 *)

m

e

3/ 2

1/ 2

E dE

, where m* is the effective mass of electron.

Since E c is the bottom of the conduction band

Z E dE

(

)

4

h

3

(2

m

e

*)

3/ 2

(

E E

c

)

1/ 2

dE

And

F ( E )

1

1

exp(

E E

F

kT

)

=exp--(

E E F

kT

)

=exp(

E E

F

kT

)

n

E c

4

h

3

(2

m

e

*)

3/ 2

(

E E

c

1/ 2

) exp(

E

F

E

kT

) dE

n

4

h

3

(2 *)

m

e

3/ 2

E

c

(

E E

c

1/ 2

) exp(

E

F

E

kT

) dE

n

4

h

3

3/ 2

(2 *) exp(

m

e

E

F

kT

)

E

c

(

E E

c

1/ 2

) exp(

E

kT

) dE

E v

 

Let E-E c = x

=>E=E c +x and dE=dx

 
 

 

n

4

h

3

(2

m

e

3/ 2

*) exp(

E

F

)

0

x

1/ 2

exp (

E x

c

kT

 

kT

 
 

 

n

4

h

3

(2

m

e

3/ 2

*) exp(

E

F

 

E

c

)

0

x

1/ 2

exp (

x

 

kT

 

kT

 

 

1/2

x

)

(

 

 

By gamma function

0

x

n

4

h

3

3/ 2

(2 *) exp(

m

e

E

F

exp (

E

c

kT

)(

kT

kT

)

3/ 2

1/ 2

2

n 2(

2

m kT

*

e

)

3/ 2

exp(

E

F

E

c

)

 

h

2

kT

 

dp = Z(E)[1- F(E)] dE

 

E

v

p



Z(E)[1 F(E)]dE

 
 

Z E dE

(

)

4

h

3

(2 m ) E dE

3/ 2

1/ 2

can be written as

 

Z E dE

(

)

4

h

3

Z E dE

(

)

4

h

3

F E

1

(2 *)

m

h

(2

m

h

*)

3/ 2

1/2

E dE

3/ 2

(

E

v

E

1

)

1/ 2

dE

E E

 

[1

( )]

E E

F

 

= exp(

kT

F

)

 

1

exp(

)

kT

 

4

(2

m

*)

3/ 2

(

E

E

1/ 2

) exp(

E E

F

) dE

 

h

3

h

v

 

kT

) dE

) dE

dE kT

)

3/2

1/2

2

Expression for density of holes in the valence band

The number of holes per unit volume in the valence band at an equilibrium

temperature is called density (concentration) of holes. Let dp be the number of holes in the conduction band in the energy interval dE between E and E+dE in the valence band at any temperature

T.

Where Z(E) dE is the density of energy states in the energy interval dE in the valence band and [1-F(E)] is the probability of presence of a hole (absence of an electron) in the energy state E.

If E v is the energy corresponding to the top of the valence band, then the density of holes in the valence band is

Now,

, where m* is the effective mass of

hole.

Since E v is the top of the valence band

And

p



 

E

p

4

h

3

(2 *)

m

h

3/ 2



v

(

E

v

E

1/ 2

) exp(

E E

F

kT

) dE

 

E

p

4

h

3

3/ 2

(2 *) exp(

m

h

E

kT

F

)

v



(

E

v

E

1/ 2

) exp(

E

kT

) dE

Let E v -E= x

=>E=E v -x and dE=-dx

 
 

p

4

h

3

3/ 2

(2 *) exp(

m

h

E

F

kT

)

0

x

1/ 2

exp(

E x

v

kT

) dE

 

p

4

h

3

3/ 2

(2 *) exp(

m

h

E

v

kT

E

F

)

0

x

1/ 2

exp(

x

kT

) dE

 

By gamma function

0

 

1/ 2

exp (

x

kT

)

dE

(

kT

)

3/ 2

 

x

p

4

h

3

3/2

(2 *) exp(

m

h

E

v

E

F

kT

)(

  2(

p

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

)

3/2

kT

)

3/2

1/2

2

exp(

E

v

kT

E

F

)

E p  4  h 3 (2 *) m h 3/ 2   v

1/ 2

2

Intrinsic Carrier Concentration (n i )

The

number

of

charge

carriers

per

unit

volume

in

an

intrinsic

semiconductor is known as intrinsic carrier concentration. It is numerically equal to the square root of the product of densities of the electrons in the conduction band and holes in the valence band of an intrinsic semiconductor. In an intrinsic semiconductor n=p=n i => n i 2 =n. p

i.e.,

2  m kT * 2 n  2( e i 2 h  2 kT
2
m kT
*
2
n  2(
e
i
2
h
 2 kT
2
=>
n
 4
i
2
h
 2 kT
=> n
 2
i
2
h
3/2
 2
kT
n
 2
i
2
h

3/2

3

(

3/2

(

) exp(

E

F

E

kT

c

).2(

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

3/2

) exp(

E E

v

F

kT

)

 
 

E E

 

3/2

* *) exp(

m m

e

h

v

kT

c

)

3/4

* *) exp(

m m

e

h

E E

v

2

kT

c

)

3/4

E

g

   

(

* *) exp(

m m

e

h

2

kT

)

, where

Fermi Level in an intrinsic semiconductor

E E E band gap

g

c

v

For an intrinsic semiconductor

density

of

electrons

 

in

CB

(n)

=

density of holes in VB (p)

i.e.,

=>

=>

=>

2(

2

m kT

e

*

h

2

)

3/2

exp(

E

F

E

c

kT

) 2(

=

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

3/2

) exp(

E

v

E

F

kT

) [1]

n

i

2

2 kT

h

2

3/2

(

*

m m

e

h

3/4

*) exp(

E

g

2

kT

) =

2

E

F

(

E E

v

c

)

3

kT

kT

log

2

m

h

*

m

e

*

E

F

(

E E

v

c

)

3

kT

2

4

log

m

h

*

m

e

*

[3]

m *

h

m *

e

3/2

[2]

When m e *= m h *,

E

F

E E

v

c

2

It is clear from [3] that if the temperature is increased above O K, the Fermi level moves towards the bottom of the conduction band.

Extrinsic Semiconductors

A semiconductor, in which charge carriers are

created

not

only

by

increasing temperature but also by adding impurities to it, is known as an intrinsic semiconductor.

Carrier concentration of n-type semiconductor

N-type semiconductor is obtained by doping an intrinsic semiconductor with pentavalent impurity atoms like phosphorus, arsenic, antimony etc. In this type of semiconductor electrons are the majority charge carriers.

Expression for carrier concentration:

The energy level diagram of a N-type semiconductor Density of electrons in the conduction band is given as

is shown in fig.

n 2(

2

*

m kT

e

h

2

3/2

) exp(

E F
E
F

E

C

kT

)

[1]

Let N d be the donor concentration and E d be the donor energy level. At very low temperatures all donor levels are filled with electrons. With increase in temperature the ionisation of donor impurity atoms takes place and density of electrons in the conduction band increases.

Number of ionised impurities = N d [1-F(E d )]

N exp(

d

E

d

E

F

kT

)

At low temperatures, The no. of ionised donor impurities= no. of electrons in the conduction band [2]

2(

*

2 m kT

e

h

2

3/2

) exp(

E F
E
F

E

C

kT

)

=

N exp(

d

E

d

E F
E
F

kT

)

[3]

Taking logarithm and rearranging, we get

(

E

F

E

C

kT

)

-(

E

d

E

F

kT

)

=

log

N

d

log2(

2

m kT

*

e

h

2

)

3/2

2

E

F

(

E

d

E

C

)

kT

log

N

d

2(

2

m kT

e

*

h

2

)

3/2

E

F

kT

(

E

d

E

C

)

2

2

log

N

d

2(

2

m kT

e

*

h

2

)

3/2

[4]

E

F

(

E E

d

C

)

2

At 0 K, Fermi level lies exactly at the middle of the donor level E d and the bottom of the conduction band E c as shown in fig. Now, substituting E F from equation [4] in equation [1] ,

exp(

E

F

E

C

kT

)

=exp{(

E

d

E

c

2

kT

)

+

1

N

d

2

2

2

m kT

*

e

h

2

3/2

log

}[5]

 

N

1/2

 

E

d

E

 

log

 

d

=exp{(

C

)

+

 

2

m kT

*

e

 

}

2

kT

 

[2(

3/2 1/2

     

h

2

)

]

 

N

1/2

d

 
 

E

E

=[ exp(

d

2

kT

 

C

)

[2(

2

m kT

*

e

3/2 1/2

 

]

   

h

2

)

]

2

m kT

*

e

h

2

3/2

 

N

d

1/2

n

2

 

2

m kT

e

*

 

3/2 1/2

  (2

n

N

d

)

1/2

2

m

h

e

2

[2(

*

kT

h

2

3/4

exp

)

E

d

2

]

E

kT

C

 E  E  exp d C   [6]  2 kT  [7]
E
E
exp
d
C
[6]
2
kT
[7]
Fig 1

Thus it is evident from equation [7], at low temperatures; the density of electrons in the conduction band is proportional to the square root of donor concentration in an N-type semiconductor.

Carrier concentration of p-type semiconductor

P-type semiconductor is obtained by doping an intrinsic semiconductor with trivalent impurity atoms like aluminum, gallium, indium etc. In this type of semiconductor holes are the majority charge carriers.

Expression for carrier concentration:

The energy level diagram of a P-type semiconductor Density of holes in the valence band is given as

is

shown in fig.

p 2(

*

2 m kT

h

h

2

3/2

) exp(

E

v

E

F

kT

)

[1]

Let N a be the acceptor concentration and E a be the acceptor energy level. At very low temperatures all acceptor levels are empty. With increase in temperature the ionisation of acceptor impurity atoms takes place i.e., the electrons move from valence band to and occupy the vacant sites in the acceptor level by leaving holes in the valence band.

Number of ionised impurities = N a F(E a )

N exp(

a

E

F

E

a

kT

)

At low temperatures, the no. of ionized acceptor impurities= no. of holes in the valence band [2]

2(

 

*

 

E

 

2 m kT

  • 2 ) exp(

h

3/2

E

v

E

F

)

=

N exp(

a

E

F

a

)

[3]

 

h

kT

Taking logarithm and rearranging, we get

kT

 
 

(

E

 

E

2

a

kT

E

 

log

 

N

a

v

F

)

2(

2

m kT

h

*

3/2

 
     

h

2

)

 

E

(

E

v

E

a

)

kT

 

N

a

F

2

2

log

2(

2

m kT

h

*

3/2

   

h

2

)

N 1/2 E d  E log d = exp{( C ) + 2  m
[4] Fig 2
[4]
Fig 2

E

F

(

E E

v

a

)

2

At 0 K, Fermi level lies exactly at the middle of the acceptor

level

E a

and

the

top

of the valence

band

E v

as

shown

in

fig.

Now,

substituting E F from equation [4] in equation [1],

exp(

E E

v

F

kT

) =exp{(

E E

v

a

2

kT

)

+

log

N

a

1/2

[2(

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

)

3/2 1/2

]

}

=[ exp(

E E kT

v

a

)

N

a

1/2

[2(

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

)

3/2 1/2

]

]

p 2

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

3/2

N

a

1/2

[2(

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

)

3/2 1/2

]

exp

E

 

v

E

a

2

kT

 

[6]

p

(2

N

a

)

1/2

2

m kT

h

*

h

2

3/4

exp

E E

v

a

2 kT

[7]

Thus it is evident from equation [7], at low temperatures; the

density of holes in the valence band is proportional to the square root of

acceptor concentration in a P-type semiconductor.

Direct and Indirect Band gap semiconductors

S.NoDirect Band gap semiconductors

Indirect Band gap semiconductors

 

1.

1.
 
1.

2.

The semiconductors

in

which

The

the

semiconductors

in

which

the

maximum of

maximum

the

valence

band

coincides

with

of the valence band does not coincide

the

minimum

 

with the minimum of the conduction band

of the conduction band for the same value

for

of

the same

value

of

the propagation

the propagation constant K is known as a

constant K is known as a indirect band gap

direct

semiconductor.

band gap semiconductor.

 

3.

In these semiconductors the electron-hole In these semiconductors the electron-

 

recombination takes place directly from

hole recombination does not take place

conduction band to valence band.

 

directly from conduction band to valence

 

band but via a trap centre in the forbidden

band.

4.

Life time of the charge carriers is less due

Life

time

of the

charge

carriers is more

to

due to

direct recombinations.

 

indirect recombinations.

 

5.

Current amplification is less

 

Current amplification is more

 

6.

Light is produced due to recombinations.Heat is produced due to recombinations.

 

7.

They are

used for

making LEDs, Laser

They are used in the manufacture of

diodes, ICs

diodes, transistors, amplifiers etc.

etc.

8.

All compound semiconductors such as

 

GaAs, GaP, InSb are best examples for

these type of semiconductors.

for these

type of semiconductors.

The elemental semiconductors like

Germanium and Silicon are best examples

Equation of continuity

The fundamental relation governing the rate of change of charge as a

function of both distance and time in a semiconductor is known as

equation of continuity which interprets the physical law of conservation of

charge in a material.

8. All compound semiconductors such as GaAs, GaP, InSb are best examples for these type of

Fig 3

Let us consider the infinitesimal volume element of area ‘A’ and length ‘dx’ as

shown in fig 3. Let p be the average hole concentration within this volume. If p

is the mean life time of the holes, then holes lost/ sec/unit volume due to

recombination is (p/p ).

Now rate of change of charge within the volume= e A dx (p/p ) [1]

If ‘g’ is the thermal rate of generation of electron-hole pairs, then the rate of

increase of charge within the volume= e A dx g [2]

If J(x) is the current density of the current entering and J(x+dx) is the current

density of the leaving current, then the rate of loss of charge due to the flow of

charge carriers = dJ. A [3]

Due to the above three effects, the hole density changes with time.

Change in net charge/ sec within the volume=

e Adx

dp   dt 
dp
dt

[4]

From the law of conservation of charge, charge can neither be

created nor destroyed.

Change= Gain-Loss

e Adx

dp   dt 
dp
dt

eAdxg eAdx

p

p

dJ A

.

, where

J peE

h

eD

p

dp

dx

[5]

Under thermal equilibrium, the hole density attains a constant value p o, when

there is no external field dJ =0 and (dp/dt)=0, then the equation becomes

g

p

o

p

[6]

Equation[6] indicates that the rate of generation of holes is equal to the rate

of loss due to recombination under thermal equilibrium conditions.

From [4], [5] and [6]

dp p

o

p

dt

p

D

p

charge.

2

d p

dx

2

h

d pE

(

)

dx

. This is called equation of continuity

of

Hall Effect

When a conductor (metal or semiconductor) carrying current is placed in a

transverse magnetic field, an electric field is produced inside the

conductor in a direction normal to both the current and the magnetic field.

This phenomenon is known as Hall Effect and the generated voltage is

called Hall voltage.

Hall Effect in a p-type semiconductor

Let us consider a p-type material for which the current is passed along x-

direction from left to right and the magnetic field applied along z-direction

as shown in fig. Since the direction of current is from left to right, the holes

will also move in the same direction as shown in fig. Now due to the

magnetic field, the holes move in the downward direction with velocity ‘v’

and get accumulated at face 1 as shown in the fig. a potential difference is

established between the opposite faces in positive

y-direction.

dp p  o  p dt  p  D p charge .  
dp p  o  p dt  p  D p charge .  

Force due to the potential difference =eE H [1]

Force due to the magnetic field= Bev[2]

At equilibrium eE H = Bev[3]

E H = Bv[4]

We know that, current density J x = n e v [5]

J v  x e [6] n BJ E  x [7] H ne E 
J
v 
x
e
[6]
n
BJ
E 
x
[7]
H
ne
E  R J
B [8]
H
H x
1
R 
H
ne

[9]

Equation [9] represents hall coefficient and the positive sign indicates that

the hall field is developed in the positive y direction.

If the breadth of the sample is b and the voltage developed is V H , then

Hall voltage

V H
V
H

E b

H

From eqn[8],

V H
V
H

R J Bb

H x

If b is the width of the sample then;

Area of the sample= b.t

Current density

J

x

I

x

bt

=>

V

H

R

H

I

x

bt

Bb

=>

V

H

R

H

I

x

B

t

The sign for V H will be opposite for n and p type semiconductors.

Significance of Hall Effect

  • 1. It is used to determine whether the given semiconductor material is p-type or n-type. i.e., if R H is negative then the material is n-type and if R H is positive then the material is p-type.

  • 2. It is used to find carrier concentration of the given material

n

1

eR

H

  • 3. It is used to find the mobility of the charge carriers.

  • 4. It is used to calculate the magnetic flux density B applied.