ECE 488
Compound Semiconductors and Devices

Displaying course information from Spring 2014.

Section Type Times Days Location Instructor
C LEC 1100 - 1150 M W F   241 Everitt Lab  Milton Feng
Web Page
Official Description Advanced semiconductor materials and devices; elementary band theory; heterostructures; transport issues; three-terminal devices; two-terminal devices; including lasers and light modulators. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: ECE 340 and ECE 350.
Subject Area Microelectronics and Photonics
Course Prerequisites Credit in ECE 340
Credit in ECE 350
Course Directors Milton Feng
Detailed Description and Outline

Electrical and optical properties of III-V materials, III-V devices based on heterostructures including optical waveguides, injection lasers, photodetectors; HEMT and HBT are also covered.


  • Review of quantum, mechanical basics including wave-particle duality, Schroedinger wave equation, one-dimensional free and bounded particles in quantum wells
  • Introduction to compound semiconductor crystals, stuctural and electrical properties, free carrier concentration and Fermi-Dirac integral, III-V alloys
  • Phase equilibrium, growth of bulk crystals and phase equilibrium, liquid phase epitaxy, vapor phase epitaxy, metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, molecular beam epitaxy
  • Basic heterostructure properties, energy band alignment models, strain effect on the bandgap energies, abrupt p-N heterojunction in equilibrium, heterojunction under bias
  • Electronic properties of real quantum wells, potential barrier and tunneling, superlattices and miniband, quantum wells in electric fields, modulation doping and two-dimensional electron gas
  • Optical properties of dialectrics, absorption, radiative transitions - Einstein relations, stimulated emission, absorption and emission rates in semiconductors, transitions in degenerated semiconductors, nonradiative recombination processes
  • Metal-semiconductor field-effect transistors, pseudomorphic high-electron mobility transistors, heterojunction bipolar transistors, transfer electron devices, resonant tunneling devices
  • Photodetectors, solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), dialectric waveguide and heterostucture laser theories, quantum well lasers, distributed feedback lasers, vertical cavity surface emitting lasers
Topical Prerequisities
  • Silicon-based solid state device background
  • Electromagnetics through wave propagation
Class notes
ABET Category
Engineering Science: 75%
Engineering Design: 25%
Course Goals

The goals of this course are to impart the elements of III-V compound semiconductor materials and related electronic and photonic devices that constitute the foundation for preparing an electrical engineering major (a) to take advanced physical electronics courses, and (b) to work in wireless communications and photonics industry.

Instructional Objectives

A. By the time of Midterm Exam (after 19 lectures), the students should be able to do the following:

1. Establish the physical understanding of the basic difference in carrier mobility of elemental and compound semiconductors. (a)

2. Apply Vegard's law coupled with bowing parameters to determine lattice constants and bandgap energies of III-V ternary and quaternary compound semiconductors. (a), (c), (e)

3. Calculate the direct-indirect bandgap crossover composition in III-V ternary and quaternary compound semiconductors. (a), (c), (e)

4. Determine the liquid-solid equilibrium temperature as a function of composition for binary compounds by using phase diagrams. (a)

5. Calculate the energy band discontinuities and alignment at the heterojunction of different semiconductors by using the model-solid theory. (a), (c), (e), (k)

6. Calculate the critical layer thickness of a strained semiconductor layer by using the Mathews and Blakeslee model. (a), (m)

7. Calculate the conduction and valence bandedge shifts due to compressive stress and tensile stress in a strained quantum well structure. (a)

8. Calculate the equilibrium band diagram, including band discontinuities, depletion width, and bandedge profile, of isotype and anisotype heterojunctions. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

9. Calculate the carrier injection rates across a heterojunction under forward and reverse bias conditions. (a), (m)

10. Find the allowed energy levels and the density of states in realistic quantum well structures. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

11. Find the allowed energy levels and the density of states in strained quantum well structures. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

B. By the time of the Final Exam (38 lectures), the student should be able to do all of the items listed under A plus the following:

12. Calculate the allowed energy bands in realistic superlattices by using the modified Kronig-Penney model. (a), (e), (m)

13. Find the quasi-Fermi levels in degenerated semiconductors by using Fermi-Dirac integral. (a), (m)

14. Determine the fraction of electrons in various conduction band valleys of non-degenerately doped n-type compound semiconductors. (a), (e)

15. Determine the fraction of holes are light holes and heavy holes in various p-type compound semiconductors. (a), (e)

16. Calculate the allowed energy states and the sheet carrier concentration in a modulation doped heterostructure by using Airy well approach. (a), (c), (e), (k)

17. Develop the ability to design heterojunction FETs by optimizing semiconductor material parameters. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

18. Develop the ability to design heterojunction bipolar transistors by optimizing semiconductor material parameters. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

19. Establish the physical understanding of the relationships between material susceptibility, complex dielectric constant, absorption coefficient, and index of refraction. (a), (e)

20. Establish the physical understanding of various absorption and emission processes in compound semiconductors. (a), (e)

21. Establish the physical understanding of absorption, spontaneous emission, and stimulated emission rates by using Einstein relations. (a), (e)

22. Design an efficient short wavelength light-emitting diode by properly selecting the material composition from a ternary compound. (a), (c), (e), (k)

23. Design an efficient photodetector by properly selecting the material from compound semiconductors. (a), (c), (e), (k)

24. Design an efficient solar cell by properly selecting the compound semiconductor materials. (a), (c), (e), (k)

25. Determine the transparency carrier density and the transparency current density for a semiconductor laser by examining Fermi-Dirac inversion factor. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

26. Find the material gain of a semiconductor laser as a function of injection current. (a), (e), (m)

27. Analyze and extract laser data concerning the internal loss, external quantum efficiency, internal quantum efficiency, output power, and threshold current from experimental results. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

28. Design a strained quantum well laser with a specific emission wavelength. (a), (c), (e), (k), (m)

Last updated: 5/23/2013