ECE 4070 / MSE 6050: Physics of Semiconductors and Nanostructures

Spring 2017, Cornell University



Instructor: Prof. Debdeep Jena (web)

Departments of ECE and MSE, Cornell University

Office: Phillips Hall 428B


Teaching Assistant

Reet Chaudhuri (rtc77@cornell)


Class Hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:40 am – 12:55 pm  @ Hollister 312

Office hours: Thursdays 5:00 – 6:30 pm @ Phillips 428B



AEP 3610 and AEP 4230 or permission of instructor.  Assumes basic exposure to quantum mechanics and statistical physics.


Course Contents

Covers basic solid state and semiconductor physics relevant for understanding electronic and optical devices. Topics include crystalline structures, bonding in atoms and solids, energy bands in solids, electron statistics and dynamics in energy bands, effective mass equation, carrier transport in solids, Boltzmann transport equation, semiconductor homo- and hetero-junctions, optical processes in semiconductors, electronic and optical properties of semiconductor nanostructures, semiconductor quantum wells, wires, and dots, electron transport in reduced dimensions, semiconductor lasers and optoelectronics, high-frequency response of electrons in solids and plasmons.



+ Learn basic principles of solid state and semiconductor physics needed to understand modern electronic 
and photonic devices. 

+ Learn how engineering materials and structures at the nanoscale enables novel electronic and photonic properties for a wide variety of engineering applications. 

+ Learn the relationship between basic science and engineering applications. 


Course calendar [planned]

Course slides for reference

Course Notes

Piazza link for discussions


The periodic table

The Fermi Surface Database

The Semiconductor Properties Database


Topics: Handouts and course slides are required reading materials, [rest are supplementary]

0) Course Information [History of Semiconductors]

1) Classical free-electron models of solids

2) Quantum mechanics of electrons in atoms to nanostructures to bulk solids

3) Crystals, bandstructure of metals, semiconductors, insulators [e.g. Si, graphene, 2D atomic materials, nanotubes…]

4) Electron statistics, Doping and dynamics in bands

5) Quantum/ballistic electron transport, conductance quantization

6) The effective mass theorem, semiconductor heterostructures: Designer quantum wells, wires, dots

7) Nanoelectronic device example: The ballistic field-effect transistor

8) The Boltzmann transport equation, Phonons, Scattering, and Fermi’s golden rule

9) Electron-photon interaction, optical interband and intraband processes

10) Nanophotonic device example(s): LEDs, Lasers, Photovoltaics



1 - pdf  posted: 02/04/2017      due: 02/14/2017                      

2 - pdf  posted: 02/17/2017      due: 02/27/2017                      

3 - pdf  posted: 03/02/2017      due: 03/14/2017                      

4 - pdf  posted: 03/19/2017      due: 03/31/2017                      

5 - pdf  posted: 04/11/2017      due: 05/03/2017                      

6 - pdf  posted: 05/02/2017      due: 05/15/2017                      



Exams and Grades

Other than the assignments, there will be two written prelim exams, and a written final exam. Here is the approximate breakup of scores that will go towards your final grade:

35% Assignments

15% Prelim 1 [Tuesday, February 28th, 2017]

20% Prelim 2 [Tuesday, April 11th, 2017]

30% Final [Monday, May 22nd, 2017]


Demonstrations and Laboratories

A few demonstrations will be performed in the course. Some of the course assignments include laboratory components or demonstrations.



The required reading will be the posted handouts. No text is required, but you are strongly encouraged to refer to the following texts:


-Ashcroft and Mermin (Solid State Physics)

-Kittel (Introduction to Solid State Physics)

-Davies (The Physics of Low Dimensional Semiconductors)

-Kroemer (Quantum Mechanics)

-Griffiths (Quantum Mechanics, if you have not had quantum before)