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Semiconductor Physics


Semiconductor Physics/CAMP-NUST
Metal, Semiconductor and Insulator:

Solids are divided into three major classes;

- Metals or Conductors
- Insulators
- Semiconductors


- Metal is a solid in which an electric current flows under the application of an

electric field.

Band picture:
- A band in which completely full carriers, no electric current even in the presence
of an electric field.

⇒ It follows therefore that a solid behaves as a metal only when some of the
bands are partially occupied.

Semiconductor Physics/CAMP-NUST
- Inner bands (in case of Na 1s2, 2s2,2p6,3s1 ) are all fully occupied, they do
not contribute to the current.

- In the above example, only top most partially filled band (3s1) state contributes
to the current
- The following notable metals are conductor for the same reason.
Cu, Ag and Au

- Moreover, in metals solid the bands overlap.

- Thus electrons and empty energy states are intermixed within the bands so
that electrons can move freely under the influence pf an electric field.

Partially filled


Figure: Typical band structure for metals at 0K

Semiconductor Physics/CAMP-NUST
- When electrons experience acceleration in an applied electric field,
they must be able to move into new energy states provided empty
energy states available to the electrons.
Empty states ⇒ allowed energy states which are not already occupied by electrons

e.g. if relatively few electrons reside in an empty band, thus unoccupied

states are available into which the electrons can move
- In a silicon band structure, the valance band is
completely filled with electron at 0K and the
conduction band is empty.
- There can be no charge transport within the
valence band, since no empty states are
available into which electrons can move. Eg

- There are no electrons in the conduction band,

so no charge transport can take place there
⇒ Thus Silicon has a high resistivity typical
of insulator (at 0K) Figure: Typical band structure for
insulator at 0K
Semiconductor Physics/CAMP-NUST

- Semiconductor materials at 0K have basically the same structure as insulator.

e.g. A filled valence band separated from an empty conduction band by

a band gap (Eg) containing no allowed energy states.

- The only difference is the size of the band gap, which is much smaller
in semiconductors than in insulators

e.g. Si has a band gap ⇒ 1.1 eV

e.g. diamond has a band gap ⇒ 5.0 eV

- The relatively small band gap of semiconductor

allow for excitation of electrons from the valence band
to conduction band by reasonable amount of thermal
energy or optical energy Eg

- Thus in semiconductors number of electrons available Filled

for conduction can increased greatly,
⇒ which helps us to tune the conductivity value
Figure: Typical band structure for
for different applications. semiconductor at 0K
Semiconductor Physics/CAMP-NUST