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Semiconductor physics

The Kronig-Penney model

The Kronig-Penney model demonstrates that a simple one-dimensional periodic potential yields energy bands as well as energy band gaps. The potential assumed in the model is shown in the Figure Solutions for k and E are obtained when the following equation is satisfied[1]
The periodic potential assumed in the Kronig-Penney model. The potential barriers (region I) with width, b, are spaced by a distance (region II), a-b, and repeated with a period, a.

Where

References: [1]http://ecee.colorado.edu/~bart/book/book/chapter2/ch2_3.htm#2_3_

The Kronig-Penney model

This transcendental equation can be further simplified for the case where the barrier is a delta function with area, V0b, for which it becomes

Solutions are only obtained if the function, F, is between -1 and 1 since it has to equal cos(ka).

Graphical solution to the Kronig-Penney model for a = 1nm and V0b = 0.2 nm-eV. Shown is the energy, E, versus ka/p and F, which has to equal cos(ka), from which one can identify the allowed energies.

The Kronig-Penney model

The E(k) relation resembles a parabola except that only specific ranges of energies are valid solutions to Schrödinger's equation and therefore are allowed, while others are not.

The range of energies for which there is no solution is referred to as an energy band gap. The transitions between allowed and forbidden energies occur at non-zero integer multiples of ka/p.

Energy versus ka/pi as presented in Figure (black curves) compared to that of a free electron (gray curves). Shown are: a) the E(k) diagram, b) the E(k) diagram combined with the reduced-zone diagram and c) the reduced-zone diagram only.

Energy bands of semiconductors

A simplified energy band diagram used to describe semiconductors. Shown are the valence and conduction band as indicated by the valence band edge, Ev, and the conduction band edge, Ec. The vacuum level, Evacuum, and the electron affinity, c, are also indicated on the figure.

Solution Similarly: Temperature dependence of the energy bandgap of germanium (Ge). silicon (Si) and gallium arsenide (GaAs) . 500 and 600 K. 400.Temperature dependence of the energy bandgap Calculate the energy bandgap of Exampl germanium. silicon and gallium e arsenide at 300.

and silicon (Si). gallium arsenide (GaAs). . This effect is explained by the fact that the wavefunctions of the electrons bound to the impurity atoms start to overlap as the density of the impurities increase.Doping dependence of the energy bandgap High doping densities cause the bandgap to shrink. Doping dependence of the energy bandgap of germanium (Ge).

We will assume that  the semiconductor can be modeled as an infinite quantum well in which electrons with effective mass. are free to move. (This assumption does not affect the result since the density of states per unit volume should not depend on the actual size or shape of the semiconductor.) The solutions to the wave equation where V(x) = 0 are sine and cosine functions . The semiconductor is assumed a cube with side L.Density of States The density of states in a semiconductor equals the density per unit volume and energy of the number of solutions to Schrödinger's equation. m*. The energy in the well is set to zero.

volume corresponding to a single solution is The total number of solutions with a different value for kx. The wavefunction must be zero at the infinite barriers of the well.. kx. At x = 0 the wavefunction must be zero so that only sine functions can be valid solutions or B must equal zero. the wavefunction must also be zero yielding the following possible values for the wavenumber. This analysis is true the y and z directions also..Density of States Cont. At x = L. Where A and B are to be determined. ky and kz and with a magnitude of the wavevector less than k is obtained by calculating the volume of one eighth of a sphere with radius k and dividing it by the volume corresponding to a single solution A factor of two is added to account for the two possible spins of each solution .

g(E). The density per unit energy is then obtained using the chain rule: The kinetic energy E of a particle with mass m* is related to the wavenumber. Ec.Density of States Cont... The effective mass takes into account the effect of the periodic potential on the electron. The minimum energy of the electron is the energy at the bottom of the conduction band. by: And the density of states per unit volume and per unit energy. becomes The same analysis also applies to electrons in a semiconductor. so that the density of states for electrons in the . k.

The number of states between k and k + dk in 3. Emin and can be described as free particles with a constant effective mass Elimination of k using the E(k) relation above then yields the desired density of states functions.Calculation of the density of states in 1. 2 and 3 dimensions We will here postulate that the density of electrons in k–space is constant and equals the physical length of the sample divided by 2p and that for each dimension. namely: . 2 and 1 dimension then equals: Why? We now assume that the electrons in a semiconductor are close to a band minimum.

.8. m*/m0 = 0.Calculation of the density of states in 1. 2 and 3 dimensions Density of states per unit volume and energy for a 3-D semiconductor (blue curve). a 10 nm quantum well with infinite barriers (red curve) and a 10 nm by 10 nm quantum wire with infinite barriers (green curve).

the Fermi function provides the probability that an energy level at energy. and its Fermi temperatures . which obey the Pauli exclusion principle. followed by the next higher Electrons are Fermions. in thermal equilibrium with a large system. E. also called Fermi function. they will fill the available states in an energy band just like water fills a bucket. The system is characterized by its The Fermi function at three different temperature. is occupied by an electron. Therefore. as Fermions are added to an energy band. Fermions are half-integer spin particles. T. The states with the lowest energy are filled first. Therefore. The Pauli exclusion principle postulates that only one Fermion can occupy a single quantum state. provides the probability of occupancy of energy levels by Fermions. ones.Fermi-Dirac distribution function The Fermi-Dirac distribution function.

In addition. The difference is due to the fact that an ionized donor energy level still contains one electron with either spin. which causes this factor to increase to four. This restriction would yield a factor of 2 in front of the exponential term. The distribution function for donors therefore differs from the Fermi function and is given by: The distribution function for acceptors differs also because of the different possible ways to occupy the acceptor level. which would have an energy different from that of the singly ionized donor level. The donor energy level cannot be empty since this would leave a doubly positively charged atom. yielding: . The neutral acceptor contains no electrons. while the doubly negatively charged state is not allowed since this would require a different energy. one finds that most commonly used semiconductors have a two-fold degenerate valence band. The ionized acceptor contains one electron. which can have either spin.Impurity distribution functions The distribution function of impurities differs from the Fermi-Dirac distribution function even though the particles involved are still Fermions.

so that the hole density per unit energy. Since holes correspond to empty states in the valence band. . p(E). the probability of having a hole equals the probability that a particular state is not filled. equals: density of states in the conduction band. gc(E) gv(E) is the density of states in the valence band The density of carriers is then obtained by integrating the density of carriers per unit energy over all possible energies within a band.Carrier densities The density of electrons in a semiconductor is related to the density of available states and the probability that each of these states is occupied.

the Fermi function. This general expression is illustrated with Figure for a parabolic density of states function with Ec = 0. as well as the product of both. the density per unit energy. crosshatched area. The figure shows the density of states function. and the corresponds to the probability of occupancy. no. which is the density of electrons per unit volume and per unit The carrier density integral. The integral states. gc(E). f(E). f(E). We also relabeled the carrier density as no to indicate that the carrier density is the carrier density in thermal equilibrium.Carrier densities Cont. of the top of the The actual location conduction band does not need to be known as the Fermi function goes to zero at higher energies. ..n(E).. Shown are the density of energy. equals the crosshatched area. n(E). gc(E). The carrier density. The upper limit can therefore be replaced by infinity.

..Carrier densities Cont. Similarly for holes one obtains: The density of states and carrier densities in the conduction and valence band. f(E). n(E) and p(E). gc(E) and gv(E) and the probability of occupancy. the density of states in the conduction and valence band. The crosshatched area indicates the electron and hole densities. Shown are the electron and hole density per unit energy..

. is obtained from: Similarly .. Non-degenerate semiconductors where Nc is the effective density of states in the conduction band. While These integral can not be solved analytically at non-zero temperatures.Carrier densities Cont. EF. we can obtain either a numeric solution or an approximate analytical solution. The Fermi energy.

The effective density of states in the conduction band of germanium equals: Note that the effective density of states is temperature dependent and can be obtain from: ...Carrier densities Cont.

Labeling the Fermi energy of intrinsic material as Ei. . namely: It is possible to eliminate the intrinsic Fermi energy from both equations.Intrinsic semiconductors Intrinsic semiconductors are usually non-degenerate. so that the expressions for the electron and hole densities in non-degenerate semiconductors apply. simply by multiplying both equations and taking the square root.Ev. and the bandgap energy Eg = Ec . we can then write two relations between the intrinsic carrier density and the intrinsic Fermi energy. This provides an expression for the intrinsic carrier density as a function of the effective density of states in the conduction and valence band.

In addition. Intrinsic carrier density versus temperature in gallium arsenide (GaAs). silicon and germanium. . Compared is the calculated density with (solid lines) and without (dotted lines) the temperature dependence of the energy bandgap.Intrinsic semiconductors The temperature dependence of the intrinsic carrier density is dominated by the exponential dependence on the energy bandgap. one has to consider the temperature dependence of the effective densities of states and that of the energy bandgap.

The difference depends on the ratio mh/me .Mass action law Intrinsic material as reference Note that Ei is not exactly at the midle of the bandgap.

Analysis of non-degenerately doped semiconductors The total charge density is therefore given by Using Mass Action law.n and EF.p. EF. . exact solution is: Fermi energy of n-type and p-type silicon. The midgap energy is set to zero. 400 and 500 K. 200. Ec and Ev. as a function of doping density at 100. 300. Shown are the conduction and valence band edges.

Analysis of non-degenerately doped semiconductors .

The total carrier density for a non-degenerate semiconductor is then described by: Where dn is the excess electron density and Fn is the quasi-Fermi energy for the electrons Where dp is the excess hole density and Fp is the quasi-Fermi energy for the holes. . but with a different value for the Fermi energy. Such assumption is justified on the basis that electrons readily interact with each other and interact with holes only on a much longer time scale. As a result the electron density can still be calculated using the Fermi-Dirac distribution function.Non-equilibrium carrier densities To describe a system that is not in thermal equilibrium we assume that each of the carrier distributions is still in equilibrium with itself.