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Course Syllabus - ECE 3103

Solid State Devices

Course Description

The MOSFET (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor) is the most successful device in the history of electronics. It is one of the most manufactured devices ever, exceeding several billion per capita. One smartphone alone contains more than 3 billion transistors! 

This course will enable you to understand what transistors are, how they work, and why they are so important in today’s integrated circuits. To this end, we will explore how semiconductor materials can be used to make basic devices including pn-junctions and metal-semiconductor contacts. At the end of the semester, you will be able to design a transistor to specifications and apply the concepts you have learned to a vast array of semiconductor devices.


Course Objectives

This course will enable you to …

  • Explain to a non-expert how a transistor works.

  • Answer the question: “What makes the MOSFET the most successful electronic device ever?“

  • Design a transistor and a diode to specifications.

  • Use energy band diagrams to explain the operation principles of advanced semiconductor devices.



Xu Yi, Assistant Professor ECE,, Office: Thornton Hall E220, Office hours: TBD. 


Teaching Assistant: TBD

Instructor office hour: TBD. Location: Thornton E220. 

TA office hour: TBD. Location: TBD.


Course Meetings 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 –10:50 AM at Rice Hall 340.


How your progress will be evaluated:

Quizzes (not graded, no due): Short quiz to (self-) assess your level of understanding is in the "Resources" tab.

Reading assignments with questions followed by short in-class discussions (not graded). 

Homework: You will practice how to apply the physics we developed in class to solve concrete problems. You will become familiar with the units and scales we encounter in semiconductor devices. You are encouraged to work in groups, although all work that is turned in must be your own, i.e. not identical to another student's homework. It will be necessary to use Mathcad, Matlab, or similar software to complete some of the homework problems questions. All work must be shown for each solution to receive full credit. Homework is graded, the homework grade (based on all homework assignments) counts ca. 40 % towards your final grade.

Three exams: The focus of each exam is to assess your level of understanding of the concepts in semiconductor device physics. Exams are graded, each exam counts ca. 20 % towards your final grade. 

Details of exams: 

(1) First mid-term: early Oct, in class, 50 mins, close book (equations and notes will be provided). Content: from the first lecture to the extrinsic semiconductor. Difficulty level: much easier than homework, almost no calculation.

(2) Second mid-term: early Nov. Take home, open-book exam. Exam time: 5 hours with 4 arbitrary long breaks. Difficulty level: 40% similar level to the first mid-term, 40% similar to homework, and 20% challenging problems.

(3) Final exam: Final weeks. Take home, open-book exam. Exam time: 5 hours with 4 arbitrary long breaks. Difficulty level: similar to second mid-term.

Students are expected to attend class and participate in Q&A, quizzes, and discussions. 

Throughout class we will use multiple resources to gather information (textbook, Wikipedia, research papers, videos). Together we will identify what are useful and credible resources for our course. You are welcome to bring your web-enabled device to class.

The class notes, homework assignments, solutions, and reading assignments will be posted on our class website in Collab. – Check the page frequently for updates.


This course is intended for undergraduate students who have an interest in microelectronics. College-level calculus including ordinary differential equations is required. A basic course in circuits is helpful but not required. No prior knowledge of Quantum Mechanics is assumed.


“Semiconductor Physics and Devices” (4th edition), Donald A. Neamen (ISBN 0-07-352958-5). 

Other Reference Materials:

"Solid State Electronic Devices" by B.G. Streetman, S.K. Banerjee (7th edition).

“Advanced Semiconductor Fundamentals” (paperback) by R.F. Pierret (2003)

“Semiconductor Device Fundamentals” by R.F. Pierret (1996)

“Semiconductor Devices: Physics and Technology” by S.M. Sze (2002)

“Physics of Semiconductor Devices 3rd Edition” by S.M. Sze and K. K. Ng (2007)


Some Class Topics

  • Crystals and Semiconductor Materials

  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 

  • Application to Semiconductor Crystals – Energy Bands

  • Carriers and Statistics

  • Recombination-Generation Processes

  • Carrier Transport Mechanisms

  • P-N Junctions

  • Metal-Semiconductor Contacts – Schottky Diodes

  • Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Transistor (MOSFET)

  • MOSFET Operation and Scaling 

  • Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJT)

  • Optoelectronic Devices (solar cell, photodiode, LED, laser)

  • (Crystal growth, device fabrication, memory devices, CCD)


UVA is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning in this course, please feel welcome to discuss your concerns with me. If you have a disability, or think you may have a disability, you may also want to meet with the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC), to request an official accommodation. You can find more information about SDAC, including how to apply online, through their website at If you have already been approved for accommodations through SDAC, please make sure to send me your accommodation letter and meet with me so we can develop an implementation plan together.

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