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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
MCC170 - Semiconductor devices for modern electronics  
Halvledarkomponenter för modern elektronik
Syllabus adopted 2021-02-19 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPWPS
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Main field of study: Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics

Course round 1

Teaching language: English
Application code: 29129
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: B
Minimum participants: 5
Maximum participants: 30

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0121 Laboratory 1,5 c Grading: UG   1,5 c    
0221 Examination 6,0 c Grading: TH   6,0 c   29 Oct 2021 pm J,  05 Jan 2022 pm J,  23 Aug 2022 pm J

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

Knowledge in electromagnetic wave theory, solid-state physics, circuit theory and microelectronics. Examples of courses at Chalmers that together contain recommended prior knowledge are: Microelectronics (MCC086); Solid State Physics (FFY012).


After course completion the participants will understand the fundamental principles and challenges of modern microelectronics and high frequency devices. Participants will learn how to analyse semiconductor devices, explain physical phenomena, evaluate device models, and design high-speed transistors and diodes. Moreover, we will discuss the research frontier and trends of nanoelectronics. Finally, the goal is to give participants the opportunity to experimentally verify and evaluate device models.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  •  Analyse physical properties of semiconductor materials (carrier concentration and transport, heterojunctions)
  •  Analyse models for basic device building blocks (pn- junctions, metal-semiconductor contacts and metal-insulator-semiconductor capacitors)
  •  Analyse and model the current-voltage characteristics of transistors and diodes (Schottky diodes, HBT, MOSFET, HEMT, and tunnel devices)
  •  Analyse the high frequency performance  (cut-off frequency, transit time and maximum frequency of oscillation) and power limitations of semiconductor devices
  •  Explain the basic principles of special microwave devices (Gunn diodes, IMPATTs, RTDs)
  •  Evaluate and illustrate the consistency between model and measurement of devices
  •  Describe and communicate current state-of-the-art and challenges of nanoelectronics and modern high frequency devices (e.g. FinFET, 2D material devices, nano wire FETs, HEMTs) to colleagues
  •  Plan and perform basic measurements on modern microelectronic devices


A. Lectures and tutorials

Semiconductor materials and their properties: bandgap, electron and holes, carrier transport, Fermi-level, heterojunctions, pn junction, metal-semiconductor junctions, metal-isolator-semiconductor junctions

Knowledge about the basic physical phenomena in primarily crystalline semiconductors, the interplay between, for instance the bandgap, temperature, carrier density, conductivity, doping and mobility. Also, different materials such as silicon (Si), gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP), gallium nitride (GaN)... etc and their idiosyncrasies will be studied. Understanding the behaviour of carriers at the most common type of interfaces used in modern devices, to be able to answer questions like "why is a pn and metal-semiconductor junction rectifying"

Semiconductor devices: diode, transistor, power devices (thyristor), metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), bipolar junction transistor (BJT), heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT), high electron-mobility transistor (HEMT), microwave and mm-wave amplifiers

The student will learn figures of merit for the most common semiconductor devices. This will enable the student to compare different types of transistors for instance, and estimate how appropriate they are for certain applications. The two most common transistor types is the bipolar junction (BJT) and the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET). These two transistors utilize quite different physical mechanisms to achieve amplification, which will be addressed during the course. Additionally, the student will become familiar with device characterization equipment, both practically through laboratory work as well as theory. The hands-on experience gained in the laboratory exercise will be placed in context by the course lectures, which is expected to deepen understanding.

High frequency devices: negative-resistance devices, Gunn diode, tunnel diode, impact-ionization avalanche transit time (IMPATT) diode, mm-wave transistors

The prospect of reaching even higher frequencies (even up to 1 THz) will be studied by analyzing recent reports on transistor bandwidth. At these extremely high frequencies only a certain category of semiconductor devices are operational. This includes a bit more exotic devices such as the Gunn diode and the impact-ionization avalanche transit-time (IMPATT) diode. The student will learn the semiconductor physics behind these devices as well as the meaning of the concept of 'negative differential resistance' and 'transferred electron devices'.

Microelectronics fabrication: photolithography, e-beam lithography, oxidation, etching, thin film deposition, ion implantation

The student will learn of the fabrication techniques used by semiconductor industry/research. Mainly this involves lithography techniques such as photolithography and e-beam lithography, but also deposition techniques, etching, oxidation and semiconductor material growth. Standard processing steps for fabricating a modern Si MOSFET will be covered. We will be addressing the difficulties of modern large-scale integration of semiconductor devices. How many devices are possible to integrate in a modern microprocessor? Which are the most significant features of CMOS technology? What are the challenges in realizing faster CPU's, and larger data memories? Which are the fundamental limits?

B. Laboratory work

The laboratory work consists of characterizing two different types of n-channel MOSFETs fabricated in s Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) CMOS process. The two types of transistors available are High-Speed (HS) and Low-Leakage (LL) transistors.

C. Project

Each group of students will choose a physical phenomena or semiconductor device that they are interested in. By using all available means (textbooks, scientific articles, internet etc) the group should hold an interesting and course-relevant presentation of their project. The students will also recommend two scientific articles on the subject to their colleagues. These articles will be included in the course literature and written exam.
Example topics for the project includes: semiconductor lasers, ultra high frequency transistors (1 THz), tri-gate transistors in future microprocessors, diamond electronics, solar cells etc.


Weekly lectures, tutorials and home assignments will constitute the backbone of this course. The laboratory work will start a couple weeks into the study period and the projects will be presented at the end of the course. A detailed schedule will be posted on the course home page.


S. M. Sze, Y. Li, K. K. Ng, ”Physics of Semiconductor Devices”, 4th ed, Wiley, (ISBN: 978-1-119-42911-1)
Scientific and technical paper

Examination including compulsory elements

Passed written examination and completion of laboratory (project) work.

The course examiner may assess individual students in other ways than what is stated above if there are special reasons for doing so, for example if a student has a decision from Chalmers on educational support due to disability.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.