Semiconductor Devices and Technology

Circuit Analysis and Applications

Two books published for use in 18-220 (Spring, 2012)

These books are intended to provide an introduction to devices and circuits in the sophomore year of the ECE curriculum. The texts are designed to integrate with new laboratory exercises. An unusual feature of the first book is the introduction of the silicon-on-insulator field effect transistor as a basic example of a three terminal electronic device. Also included is an introduction to semiconductor process technology and a step-by-step description of an SOI CMOS process. Example layouts of simple circuits are also included. The text and laboratory also provide a link to signal processing through a discussion of modulation and demodulation.

Circuit Analysis and Applications can be purchased from lulu.com at


Semiconductor Devices and Technology can be purchased from lulu.com at


The tables of contents and some sample pages are available here

Laboratory assignments that have been used with this text are available here.

Fundamentals of Modern CMOS Devices

Completed in 2011 and used for the first time in 18-610 in Fall, 2011. This book will be available for purchase when (and if) I go through the pain of getting approval for reprinting the figures. 


This book grew out of two courses that I have taught on and off for, well, for a long time. Namely: a more advanced course on field effect devices, taught at the advanced undergraduate/ graduate level; and various incarnations of a graduate course of semiconductor fabrication. There was a textbook published along the way (Field Effect Devices and Applications, Prentice Hall, 1998). This (self-published) book is considerably different from that textbook. I start in Chapter 1 with a quick overview of the field effect concept. Then individual semiconductor process steps, along with a detailed oxide-isolated CMOS process flow are explained in Chapter 2. I also remark on some of the differences between this “classic” CMOS process and more current technology. Concepts of semiconductor physics are reviewed in Chapter 3, largely to get all the notation out on the page. Chapter 4 addresses the MOS capacitor, with a careful treatment of the phenomena of inversion. Chapter 5 discusses the long-channel MOS transistor, with an included discussion relating transistor characteristics to performance in digital, and to a lesser degree analog, circuits. Chapter 6 explains a variety of effects that become important in short-channel transistors. Here I have extensively used simulation to illustrate the phenomena. Chapter 7 introduces the silicon-on-insulator MOSFET, including both technological and device physics aspects. Chapter 8 considers the various types of MOS memory. Finally, Chapter 9 comments briefly on the prospects for the future MOSFET. This chapter could be very long and speculative, but I have instead chosen to make it short and focused on the near term. Some of the chapters have made extensive use of the Integrated Circuit Engineering collection at the Smithsonian Institution. While this collection only extends into the late 1990s, it is an invaluable resource for process cross sections. A small number of other photographs and figures are taken from various (referenced) sources.

CMOS device physics and technology has a vast literature. I have made choices about what to leave out from that vast literature, in order to cover a manageable amount of material in enough detail to convey understanding to the reader. I have chosen to leave out material on power FETs; FETs specifically for analog applications; junction and Schottky-gate field effect transistors; charge-coupled devices; compound semiconductor field effect transistors...the list could form a chapter itself. I have also left out nanostructured devices that might (but probably won’t) supplant the traditional silicon CMOS transistors. It’s all out there in the literature, and might make part of a book, just not this one.

Much of the writing, especially for chapters 6 and 7, was completed while on leave during the fall semester of 2010. I gratefully acknowledge support from Carnegie Mellon during that leave.


Field Effect Devices and Applications: Devices for low-power, portable, and imaging systems

Published by Prentice Hall, 1998. Currently out of print. 

Chapter titles 

1. Preliminaries and Notation
2. Field Effect Devices-Overview and Classification
3. The MOS Capacitor
4. Charge-coupled Devices
6. MOS Memory
7. Thin Film Transistors
8. Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors (MESFETs)


Semiconductor electronics has been at the heart of the information revolution. Transistor electronics made mainframe computers reliable enough to be useful for more than just a few highly specialized applications. Advances in semiconductor electronics, especially the development of the integrated circuit, made computers cheaper and useful for an ever-broader range of applications. And not so long ago, the microprocessor made it possible to apply computing to innumerable industrial and consumer products. Highly prominent among these products is the desktop computer, but microprocessors have also added value to products as diverse as washing machines and automobiles.

The ever-increasing ability to store and manipulate information continues to make new applications possible, and frequently unexpected ones. Only recently has it becomes possible to store and display images along with text information at a reasonable price; this has driven graphics-oriented computing, including the explosive development of the world wide web. High-definition television is now on the near horizon, with capabilities which would be impossible without the manipulation of massive quantities of digital information. Portable communications have also grown very rapidly; the portable telephone, once an expensive curiosity, is now ubiquitous. And laptop computers have functionality which was unattainable even with the most expensive mainframe computers not so many years ago.

The trend toward increasing device density and decreasing price which is expressed by Moore's law has remained remarkably consistent for more than two decades. But while the trends have been consistent, at various points entirely new classes of applications have become possible. For the near future, many of these new applications will be characterized by portability and the increasing use of images. These two aspects in a sense go together: a portable device, designed to be used without documentation and by the widest possible range of users, must interact with users in the most direct and simple way. So a graphical display is essential, which brings with it the need for more information storage and processing and more rapid and higher bandwidth communication.

This book treats many of the important semiconductor devices for this new class of applications in a unified way. At its heart, this is a device physics book, but it is a device physics book where the choice of topics is motivated by a particular class of systems applications. Because the topics discussed are motivated by systems applications, this book contains more than the usual amount of material describing these requirements and the ways in which devices are designed to meet these requirements. The reader will learn about simple digital circuits and their performance; the perception and reproduction of images; low temperature processing of semiconductor materials; and RF communications. This material is included so it can be understood not only how particular devices work but also why they are of interest.

This book is focused on field effect devices, because these are linked by common physical principles and also because they meet the future demands for low power consumption and high device density. (An equally unified book could be written about injection devices, covering junction diodes, bipolar transistors, and optoelectronic applications; perhaps such a book will be written, and used instead of, or in a sequence with, this book). This is not an encyclopaedic coverage of field effect devices, however. An enormous amount has been published about these devices, and it is increasingly clear that covering everything often has the effect of teaching nothing. In this book, I have tried to cover a limited set of topics carefully enough that the underlying physical principles can be learned well. This book represents my own personal view of which topics are most essential and interesting and which are not.

Now the details. This book is intended for a one-semester course, taught at the senior level, or possibly second semester junior level. The ideal student will have taken either an introduction to semiconductor physics; an introduction to electronic circuits and devices; or perhaps an introductory course in semiconductor devices. It is assumed that students know about electrons and holes and how they move, and how a pn junction works. Prior study of the bipolar or field effect transistor is not required. Some coursework at the introductory level in electronic circuits or materials science would be helpful for particular parts of the book but it is not essential.

Chapter 1 provides a brief summary of the essential semiconductor equations and Chapter 2 gives a short historical perspective and then presents the field effect device "family tree." Chapter 3 develops the physics of the MOS capacitor. If a thorough understanding of the pn junction is essential for the study of injection devices, the MOS capacitor plays the same role for field effect devices. This study is also motivated by the value of the MOS capacitor for process and material diagnostics.

In Chapter 4, MOS capacitor physics are applied to understand the charge-coupled device (CCD). One of the major applications of the CCD is in image sensors, and discussion of various types of image sensors forms a major part of this chapter. This chapter also introduces the gated diode (just an MOSFET without a drain) and develops confidence in the use of the basic MOS capacitor concepts.

Chapter 5 is the heart of the book, containing the discussion of the MOS field effect transistor. The device equations are developed, and there are descriptions of phenomena which are important in scaled devices such as short-channel effects, hot-carrier reliability, and subthreshold currents. Frequency and switching-speed limitations are addressed, as is the impact of scaling on speed and power consumption. Chapter 6 provides an introduction to the various types of MOS memories. While memories are very large and complex circuits, the elemental storage cell is small, sometimes consisting of only a single specialized transistor. Understanding the operation of the elemental storage cell requires many of the device physics concepts which are presented in earlier chapters.

The thin film field effect transistor (TFT), and its application in displays, is the topic of Chapter 7. After a long and rocky development path, the active matrix liquid crystal display has recently reached a relatively mature state, with active matrix displays now found in a majority of laptop computers. Additional applications are in avionics, medical imaging, and projection high-definition television displays. While the device concepts are similar to those applicable to single-crystal devices, the constraints of low-temperature processing lead to very different characteristics from single-crystal devices. Simple models presented in this chapter describe many of the characteristics of thin-film transistors and aid in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different technologies.

Finally, Chapter 8 discusses the GaAs metal-semiconductor field effect transistor. This device is a major competitor for RF power amplifier and RF front end electronics in portable systems. This chapter also contains a development of the theory of the Schottky barrier diode. The structures of other high performance GaAs-based field effect transistors are also briefly discussed.

A one-semester course could easily cover the material in chapters 1-5 together with a selection of material from chapters 6-8, with the choice depending on instructor interest and the time available. The chapters contain examples, usually including several numerical examples using Mathcad. The use of Mathcad makes it possible to painlessly apply some of the more algebraically complex equations. A good selection of problems is provided with each chapter, some of which use Mathcad (or a similar tool) to facilitate calculations and comparisons of models.