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Principle of Semiconductor Devices Part I: Semiconductors, PN Junctions and Bipolar Junction Transistors

14,520 people completed this program


As a topic of study, semiconductor devices offer a unique challenge due to the complex mathematics involved. In this course, we take a more intuitive approach to exploring the underlying concepts. Eschewing mathematics, we use engaging animations to help you visualize the working principles of many common semiconductor devices.

Whether you are completely new to the subject or an experienced engineer, this course will give you a different perspective and a new way to look at the behaviors of semiconductor devices.

Reducing the reliance on equations does not mean the depth of the material is sacrificed. In fact, the course provides even more in-depth explanations of key concepts. We shift the focus from quantitatively evaluating the behavior of semiconductor devices to intuitively visualizing the semiconductor device actions.

In addition, the course offers a wide array of content - from basic PN junctions to modern nano-electronic circuits and systems. Besides covering the existing technologies, the course also explores the development of the industry into the future.

  • How to describe the motion of carriers in a semiconductor material
  • Ways to illustrate the operational principles of some common electronic devices including PN Junction Diode, Schottky Diode, Photo Diodes, Solar Cells, LED and Bipolar Junction Transistor
  • How to identify the most important parameters to adjust for meeting certain design specifications
  • How to construct the circuit models of some common electronic devices
  • Communication in the language of semiconductor


Week 1: Intrinsic semiconductor materials

Introduction to the energy band diagram of a crystal and calculating the carrier concentration in the material.

Week 2: Doping and PN junction formation

The effect of doping and the formation of PN junctions.

Week 3: Current-voltage characteristics of PN junction diodes

Current-voltage characteristics and detailed carrier actions in a PN junction diode.

Week 4: Real PN junction characteristics, its model and design

The characteristics of real PN junction diodes, the charge and capacitance models, and the design strategy.

Week 5: PN junction optical properties and metal-semiconductor contacts

The optical responses of the PN junction; the working principles of optical detection, solar cells and LEDs; and the metal-semiconductor contacts.

Week 6: Basic operation of Bipolar Junction Transistor

Introduction to bipolar junction transistors, I-V characteristic and non-ideal effects.

Week 7: Real Bipolar Junction Transistor structures, switching characteristics and model

Switching characteristics of the Bipolar Junction Transistor, it circuit model and design strategy.

Week 8: Final Exam

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Principle of Semiconductor Devices Part I: Semiconductors, PN Junctions and Bipolar Junction Transistors
8 weeks
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