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Semiconductor Electronic and Photonic Devices

Module PH2171

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2019 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017SS 2016SS 2015SS 2013

Basic Information

PH2171 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered irregular.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2171 is Martin Brandt.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module will introduce the students to the physics of semiconductor-based electronic and optical devices, their functional characteristics, and their physical realization. The following devices and structures will be addressed in detail:

Semiconductor contacts: Ohmic and Schottky metal-semiconductor contacts, metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) contacts, and semiconductor-semiconductor contacts

Diodes: Schottky diodes, basic p-n junctions, tunnel diodes, avalanche diodes, and Gunn diodes

Bipolar transistors and thyristors

Field effect transistors (FETs), in particular metal-oxide-semiconductor FETs (MOSFETs)

Optoelectronics: light-emitting diodes (LEDs), semiconductor lasers, photodetectors, and solar cells

Selected elements of microelectronics: CMOS logic, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), and charge-coupled devices (CCDs)

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this course the students possess a basic knowledge of devices discussed, including their physical foundations, functional characteristics (e.g. current-voltage characteristics), and applications. This will provide them necessary knowledge to understand the components of modern semiconductor electronic and optoelectronic devices. Students are also able to

-       Draw and explain energetics of various semiconductor junctions

-       Explain the physical basis for current-voltage characteristics of different semiconductor electronic devices

-       Explain the physical structure, typical operating ranges, and limitations of devices

-       Explain how the different devices are used in technological applications


No formal preconditions. However, a solid knowledge of semiconductor physics is required to be able to follow this module, such as obtained e.g. in Solid State Physics Expert (PH0017 and PH0018) or Semiconductor Physics (PH2171).

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

The method of instruction is through lectures, in which questions and discussion are encouraged. Fundamental concepts are further illustrated with modern technological examples.


The black-board lecture is complemented by powerpoint slides that provide figures and videos representing modern research examples, schematic illustrations, and representative data.


Sze and Ng, "Physics of Semiconductor Devices", Wiley, third edition. An electronic version of the text is available through the library of TUM.

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be a written exam of 90 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using calculation problems and comprehension questions.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • • Derive the current-voltage characteristics of a Schottky diode.
  • • Explain the functional principle of a bipolar transistor. What is the benefit of using a heterobipolar transistor?
  • • Sketch the idealized drain characteristics of a MOSFET and discuss the physics of the different regions of the MOSFET behavior.
  • • Draw the band diagram of a diffusion solar cell. How is recombination reduced at the two different surfaces?

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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