ELEC_ENG 403: Quantum Semiconductors



ELEC_ENG 384 or MSE 351 or previous knowledge of solid state physics at a 300-level


Elements of wave mechanics necessary to explain band theory. Fermi-Dirac statistics, introduction to the theory of electrical conductivity in semiconductors, optical and thermal properties, diffusion of electrons, and holes in solids.

REQUIRED TEXT: J.H. Davies, The Physics of Low-Dimensional Semiconductors: An Introduction , Cambridge University Press, 1998 

REFERENCE TEXTS: M. Razeghi, Fundamentals of Solid State Engineering , 2 nd ed., Springer, 2006.

COURSE INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Matthew Grayson

COURSE COORDINATOR: Prof. Manijeh Razeghi

COURSE GOALS: The course is designed to provide the understanding of the physics of contemporary quantum electronic devices where quantum confinement plays an important role, and also prepare students for advanced study and research in the variety of different branches of semiconductor quantum electronics. Content includes physics of bulk semiconductors, quantum wells, and superlattices, and covers the basic electrical, optical, and transport phenomena in low-dimensional semiconductor structures.


  • Week 1: Theory of band structure in bulk semiconductors. Tight-binding model. Pseudopotential method.
  • Week 2: k-p perturbation theory; 8x8 Kane Hamiltonian for III-V materials; effective mass tensor; band non-parabolicity.
  • Week 3: Envelope function description of electronic states in external field. Single rectangular quantum well. Eigenfunctions and energy levels. Density of states. Electron and hole energy levels in III-V-based quantum wells.
  • Week 4: Coupled-well structures. Kronig-Penney model for a superlattice.
  • Week 5: Interband optical transitions. Intersubband transitions. Excitonic absorption. Selection rules. Photoluminescence. Electro-optic effects.
  • Week 6: Coulomb impurities in bulk materials and quantum wells. Excitons in bulk materials and quantum wells. Interface defects.
  • Week 7: Modulation-doped heterostructures. Wave functions and energy levels. Electric quantum limit. Fang-Howard wave function.
  • Week 8: Parallel transport and mobility. Impurity scattering. Alloy scattering. Interface roughness scattering.
  • Week 9: Two-dimensional electrons in magnetic field. The Shubnikov-de Haas Effect. Electron states in disordered two-dimensional channels. Quantum Hall Effect.
  • Week 10: Resonant tunneling and vertical transport.


  • Homework- 25%
  • Exams- 50%
  • Projects- 25%

COURSE OBJECTIVES: When a student completes this course s/he will understand the quantum mechanics of the low-dimensional semiconductor structures: quantum wells, superlattices, quantum dots, quantum wires, understand transport and optical phenomena in these structures, be familiar with methods available for engineering their optical and electrical properties, know area of applications in advanced electronics and optoelectronics.

ABET: 100 % Science