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Education Science Technology

Primers for Semiconductor Physics? 36

mactom asks: "Hello, I am a physics engineer with a background in lasers (non semiconductor), but during the last years I have slipped into a job in semiconductor technology development. We define the manufacturing technology and how the transistors, diodes and other devices are to be designed and manufactured on the silicon level. First I did lithography only but now I am involved in layout and design of devices and in the whole technology development. After all of this, I've discovered that I have some serious gaps in my semiconductor physics understanding! I need some suggestions for books, tutorials or even seminars (in Europe/Germany) about semiconductor physics. Yes, I have some books already, but I always have the feeling that I miss something important when I do some self studying. So, I need some 'semiconductor for dummies' books or seminars.Any suggestions?"
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Primers for Semiconductor Physics?

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  • Has been out of print for years but is available on ebay. I don't know about a Deutsch version.

    The first 20-30 pages is a very good introduction to basic semiconductor physics as it was known in the 60's. I first read it when I was in high school.
  • by 74X0R (797859) <ad769 AT nyu DOT edu> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @04:50PM (#9872500) Homepage
    Try Britney Spears' illustrated primer, here [].
    • Indeed. I always thought my engineering textbooks would have been much more appreciated if they had a hot chick on every page. Every class would have been like that one with the hot teacher!
    • by DrLudicrous (607375) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:16PM (#9875696) Homepage
      LOL, you beat me to it. And the best part is that a lot of it, if not all of it is correct. Like the opening page, that actually is a correct formula for the density of states in 3 dimensions (different in 1 and 2 D). Honestly, this is probably one of the better sites out there. I love the background for photonic crystals- it's dead on. Shout out to Kathy Kash at Case Western!

      The standard physics text for intro solid state is Kittel. I would avoid this. Try Marder's text, Condensed Matter Physics. It is heady stuff, but if you want to dig deep it is a good source. An old classic for profs and grad students is Ashcroft & Mermin's text (something something solid state something).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Be sure to check out "Semiconductor Production Nanotlithography Praxis and Theory for Idiots." I believe I saw a copy at Walmart for $9.99.

  • by ikeleib (125180) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @05:13PM (#9872707) Homepage
    The author's a complete dickhead, but the book is short and gets the point across. The material can by quite boring and the author doesn't exactly spice it up. Anyway, it's by Streetman and Banerjee; amazon it.

    Also there are a few graduate course materials at MIT's courseware that may be helpful.

    • Streetman is a standard text and pretty much covers the whole range of an undergraduate device physics course from an EE perspective. It covers topics including the manufacturing process, quantum mechanics, and the basic analysis of electronic devices. A basic knowledge of calculus is helpful. The standard approach of this books is to:

      1. start with basic concepts in quantum mechanics and materials

      2. find a correspondence to classical physics (F=ma) and electrodynamics (F = q E)

      3. develop a basic

  • Mead and Conway... (Score:5, Informative)

    by PaulBu (473180) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @05:17PM (#9872734) Homepage
    No, really! That was one of the ( 1043580/qid=1091570616/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-97293 58-6063327?v=glance&s=books)
    books that actually started the whole field, and they had to explain what the whole semi technology was to the "non-initiated" physicists.

    I know how you feel, I've been trying to make a similar transition from superconductor electronics back into the mainstream, and whereever I come I can start from discussing if the place uses classic Mead-Conway colors for their layouts, of if not why not? ;-) And yes, people do relate to that! ;-)

    Another good book which an older friend of mine swears by is the Andy Grove's book on semiconductor processes (more oriented towards fab than design), can not get the link now (maybe it is out of print), but the guy who had started Intel can not be TOO wrong, right?

    Gray and Meyer wrote ( 1321680/qid=1091571023/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-97293 58-6063327?v=glance&s=books)
    this book, my new boss suggested it for me to read (took it off his bookshelf and it takes its well-deserved position on my desk now, I move it around once in a while to indicate the fact that I am checking it out ;-) ), more of analog design with transistors stuff, like how would one build a really good amp and what it takes to design that without computers, SPICE and everything.

    Make your pick! ;-)

    Paul B.
  • "...physics engineer...lasers...serious gaps in my semiconductor physics understanding..."

    hmmm... is there any possible way that I could interest you in a job with Bin Laden Engineering, Inc.? ;-)

    Wile E. Coyote
  • by foog (6321) <> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @06:11PM (#9873342)
    but see if you can find pdfs of whatever they're using for APh 9 at Caltech these days.

    They whip freshmen through most of what you'd learn better in a junior-level class on semiconductor physics and have them fab their own devices in a simple but effective laboratory. Carver Mead designed the course. Fun class!
  • by nusratt (751548) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @06:17PM (#9873412) Journal
    Absolutely on the level...
    I went to the Amazon URL provided for Mead & Conway in a prior post.
    Halfway down the page, it says:
    "Customers interested in Introduction to VLSI Systems may also be interested in:

    Free service to meet singles"

    Boy, their artificial intelligence systems are a lot sharper than I imagined!
  • I can un-recommend a text I had in class, Semiconductor Physics and Devices, by S. Banerjee et. al. Sorry :( OTOH, I can recommend Britney Spears' guide to semiconductor physics [] for a chuckle, if nothing else.
  • by Jazzer_Techie (800432) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @10:06PM (#9875242)
    Author: Pallab Bhattacharya
    Title: Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices, 2nd ed.
    Publisher: Prentice-Hall, NJ, 1997

    This is a good work. It's a grad textbook that starts simple and then becomes more involved. From the work you describe, I think it would be extremely applicable and helpful.
  • by auferstehung (150494) <tod.und.auferstehung bei> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:03PM (#9875605)
    His books contain a wealth of information. Specifically, Physics of Semiconductor Devices [], although Semiconductor Devices: Physics and Technology, 2nd Edition [] may also be useful. Used copies (or the library) won't set you back too much.
  • Sze, Wolf, and Grove (Score:3, Informative)

    by jralls (537436) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:06PM (#9875628) Homepage
    I made something of a similar journey 15 years or so ago, moving from nuclear engineering (as in reactors) and submarine construction to working in a wafer fab.
    S. M. Sze's "Physics of Semiconductor Devices" is something of a standard which I saw on many bookshelves. It's something of a survey, touching on all of the technologies without really going into depth on any.
    Stanley Wolf's 3-volume set "Silicon Processing in the VLSI Era" is encyclopedic on processing and modelling (and the modelling part goes into the physics in a lot of depth) of CMOS and related processes.
    And my boss used to rave about Grove's book, but I've never seen a copy.
    This is all "vertical" stuff. If your interests are "horizontal" (that is, laying out the circuits rather than building up the devices) then none of it will work for you.
  • by Slack(er)ware (708394) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @11:12PM (#9875668)
    A good book that covers device modeling and design for both CMOS and bipolar VLSI devices is "Fundamentals of Modern VLSI Devices" by Yuan Tar and Tak Ning. It doesn't cover fabrication much but it does a great job of introducing the various electrical effects that modern process integration engineers have to deal with. For a more process-oriented approach there is always Andy Grove's book "Physics and Technology of Semiconductor Devices."
  • Helpful references. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Christopher Thomas (11717) on Wednesday August 04, 2004 @12:14AM (#9875999)
    I can't point you towards physics references, but I can point you towards texts about modelling and using these devices:

    • Microelectronic Circuits [], by Sedra and Smith.
      This is the semiconductor devices bible for electrical and computer engineering (in North America, at least).

    • Analog Integrated Circuit Design [], by Johns and Martin.
      Excellent book recapping device behavior and describing analog circuits and the issues that come up when you're trying to integrate elements on a die.

    • Principles of CMOS VLSI Design [], by West, Eshraghian, and Smith.
      This also covers layout and circuit issues, though mostly for digital logic design.

    If you want to do digital logic intelligently, or design analog circuits that do their job with precision and effectiveness, you need to go back to school and get a Comp Eng degree. If you want an idea of how engineers use the devices you're trying to optimize, and what factors are important for usability and performance, these books will do.
    • > get a Comp Eng degree

      Isn't that what EE is?
      • nah, at least here (University of Michigan) it is about 90% of EE with some computer specific electronics thrown in.
      • get a Comp Eng degree

        Isn't that what EE is?

        Depends on the university. About 10-20 years ago, this was true. Right now, around here at least you have EE, CS, and CE as distinct disciplines:
        • EE deals with mostly analog systems, and mostly systems build from discrete components (e.g. power systems, high power RF systems, control for industrial systems, etc.).
        • CS deals with information theory and theory of computation. These are the people who design new programming languages and work on AI and so forth
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I would agree that Sze's "Physics of Semiconductor Devices" is a standard text. However it is rather thick. He also wrote a shorter introductory text which I like very much called "Semiconductor device Physics and Technology". Finally, he wrote/edited a book on ICs called "ULSI Technology" which covers all the manufacturing processes in detail and has loads of references.

    Another introductory text that has more discussion that could be beneficial for self-study is Ben Streetman's "Solid-state Electronic De
  • My PhD Bookshelf (Score:2, Informative)

    by ofey (529844)
    I'll just point you in the direction of myAmazon Listmania [].
    • Gerold W. Neudeck, "The PN Junction Diode", 2nd ed., Vol. 2 of the "Modular Series on Solid State Devices", Addison-Wesley. 1989. TK7871.86.N48. This short book has the best diagrams illustrating electron/hole movement in the PN junction that I've seen. Very concise. Highly recommended, if you are interested in diode physics.

      In fact, the entire Modular Series is worth owning. There are books are semiconductor fundamentals, bipolar transistors, FETs, fabrication and manufacturing, "advanced fundamentals",

  • I found UC Berkeley's Extension semiconductor coursework very helpfull. Ranges from great Intro to Fab to Discrete Device Design and layout, etc. One or two nights a week for ten weeks with really good instructors...

    Anyway, Good luck. I think this is the single toughest tech skillset out there - particularly Physical Verification of chip design.

    So, if you live in the Bay Area check out UCB Extension...

  • Oddly enough, they carry the best primers. They have a series of books called "Basic Electronics" "Communication Electronics" and "Digital Electronics"

    All are an easy read, and very clear with good pictures. They make it really easy to understand.

    They are ~8x11 and are thin paperbacks. Absolutely great. I think even kids can understand (assuming they can handle the terminology)

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