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What is a Semiconductor?

Low resistivity => conductor


High resistivity => insulator
Intermediate resistivity =>
semiconductor
conductivity lies between that of conductors
and insulators
generally crystalline in structure for IC devices
In recent years, however, non-crystalline
semiconductors have become commercially very
important

polycrystalline

amorphous crystalline

From Hydrogen to Silicon


# of Electrons
1
2
3
Z Name 1s 2s 2p 3s 3p 3d

Notation
1

1H

1s

2 He

1s 2

3 Li

1s 2 2s 1

4 Be

1s 2 2s 2

5B

1s 2 2s 2 2p1

6C

1s 2 2s 2 2p2

7N

1s 2 2s 2 2p3

8O

1s 2 2s 2 2p4

9F

1s 2 2s 2 2p5

10 Ne

1s 2 2s 2 2p6

11 Na

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 1

12 Mg

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 2

13 Al

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 2 3p1

14 Si

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 2 3p2

15 P

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 2 3p3

16 S

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 2 3p4

17 Cl

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 2 3p5

18 Ar

1s 2 2s 2 2p6 3s 2 3p6

The Silicon Atom


14 electrons occupying the 1st 3 energy
levels:
1s, 2s, 2p orbitals filled by 10 electrons
3s, 3p orbitals filled by 4 electrons
To minimize the overall energy, the 3s and 3p
orbitals hybridize to form 4 tetrahedral 3sp
orbitals
Each has one electron and
is capable of forming a bond
with a neighboring atom

Unit cell concept

The unit cell is a small portion of any given


crystal that could be used to reproduce a crystal.

Two different
ways of
representing
a unit cell

Simple 3D unit cells

Crystal structure of Si and Ge and other


common semiconductors

2 FCC lattices displaced by ((1/4) a, (1/4) a, (1/4) a) along


body diagonal*
8 atoms per unit cell
Diamond lattice (also called zincblende if interpenetrating
FCC lattices are made of different elements like in GaAs)
Each atom is bonded to 4 other atoms (tetrahedral bonding
structure)
* The lattice constant or cubic edge is a. Generally a is
expressed in Angstroms. 1 = 108 cm = 1010 m
6

Diamond and zincblende lattice unit cells

Diamond lattice (detail)

The Si Crystal
Each Si atom has
4 nearest
neighbors
lattice constant
= 5.431

diamond cubic lattice

How Many Silicon Atoms per


cm-3?

Number of atoms in a unit cell:


4 atoms completely inside cell

Each of the 8 atoms on corners are shared among cells


count as 1 atom inside cell
Each of the 6 atoms on the faces are shared among 2
cells count as 3 atoms inside cell
Total number inside the cell = 4 + 1 + 3 = 8

Cell volume:
(.543 nm)3 = 1.6 x 10-22 cm3

Density of silicon atoms


= (8 atoms) / (cell volume) = 5 x 1022 atoms/cm3

Example
What is the density of Si?
Atomic weight of Si = 28.1 i.e. 1 mole (NA = 6.023 x 1023 atoms)
of Si has a mass of 28.1 g

gm
51022 atoms

28.1
3
mole 2.33 g
cm
Density
3
23 atoms
cm
6.02 10
mole

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Compound
Semiconductors
Ga

As

zincblende structure
III-V compound semiconductors: GaAs, GaP, GaN, etc.
important for optoelectronics and high-speed ICs

Crystallographic Notation
Miller Indices:

Notation
(hkl)

Interpretation

{hkl}

equivalent planes

[hkl]

crystal direction

<hkl>

equivalent directions

crystal plane

h: inverse x-intercept of
k: inverse y-intercept of
l: inverse z-intercept of p
(Intercept values are in multiples of the lattice
h, k and l are reduced to 3 integers having the

Crystallographic Planes and


Si Wafers

Silicon wafers are usually cut


along a {100} plane with a flat
or notch to orient the wafer
during IC fabrication:

Crystallographic Planes in
Si

Unit cell:

View in <111> direction


View in <100> direction

View in <110> direction