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Syllabus for

Academic year
MKM135 - Semiconductor devices
Syllabus adopted 2020-02-17 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
Major subject: Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics

Teaching language: English
Application code: 29117
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
0104 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   26 Oct 2020 am J   07 Jan 2021 am J,  27 Aug 2021 pm J

In programs

MPNAT NANOTECHNOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 2 (compulsory elective)
MPNAT NANOTECHNOLOGY, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Josip Vukusic

  Go to Course Homepage


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

Basic knowledge in electromagnetics, electrical circuit analysis, solid state physics and semiconductor physics. Examples of courses at Chalmers that together contain recommended prior knowledge are: 'EEM015 Elektromagnetiska fält', 'EEF031 Elektromagnetisk fältteori', 'EMI084 Kretsanalys', 'ESS116 Elektriska nät och system', 'FFY143/FFY144 Fysik 2' or 'FFY012 Fasta tillståndets fysik'.


After course completion the participants will understand the fundamental principles on which modern microelectronics are based on. They will get acquainted with most types of semiconductor devices and their area of application. Both device theory and practical fabrication methods will be covered in the course. We will also discuss current state-of-the art research, some of which will constitute the prevailing electronics of the future.

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

  • implement established models for common semiconductor devices such as diodes and transistors in new settings
  • explain the physical mechanisms governing the operation of, for instance, diodes and transistors to a colleague
  • design semiconductor devices to meet performance requirements
  • discuss, reflect on and argue technical details concerning future development of semiconductor devices
  • structure and present complex technical subjects
  • develop a more efficient methodology to approach new problems and technical challenges unsupervised, i.e independent problem solving skills
  • 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.


  • Lecture notes
  • Project articles (TBD)
  • Laboratory work PM
  • S. M. Sze, K. K. Ng, "Physics of Semiconductor Devices" 3rd Edition

Examination including compulsory elements

Written exam + home assignments + project + laboratory work

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.