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 Electrical, Optical & Magnetic Materials and Devic  posted by  member7_php   on 3/2/2009  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Ross, Caroline, 3.15 Electrical, Optical , Fall 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 07 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Electrical, Optical & Magnetic Materials and Devices

Fall 2006

A 3-D simulation of current flow in a bipolar transistor.
A three-dimensional simulation of current flow in a bipolar transistor. (Image courtesy of the National Coordination Office for Information Technology Research and Development.)

Course Highlights

This course features lecture notes, exams, and a complete set of problem sets in the assignments section.

Course Description

This course explores the relationships which exist between the performance of electrical, optical, and magnetic devices and the microstructural characteristics of the materials from which they are constructed. The class uses a device-motivated approach which emphasizes emerging technologies. Device applications of physical phenomena are considered, including electrical conductivity and doping, transistors, photodetectors and photovoltaics, luminescence, light emitting diodes, lasers, optical phenomena, photonics, ferromagnetism, and magnetoresistance.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.



There are two exams during class hours, and one final exam. A term paper is due in November. There will be problem sets due most weeks except for exam and term paper weeks.


Exam 1 15%
Exam 2 15%
Paper 30%
Final Exam 30%
Problem Sets 10%

Students are encouraged to work in small groups (2-3 students) to complete the problem sets. Each student must work individually to complete the paper and exams.

ABET Educational Objectives and Outcomes

Instructional Objectives and Outcomes

  • Analyze the behavior of carriers (electrons and holes) in semiconductors in terms of drift, diffusion and recombination/generation.
  • Understand the meaning of energy levels in semiconductors, including the position of the fermi level at equilibrium and out of equilibrium.
  • Describe the operation of a pn junction and apply this understanding to more complex situations (bipolar junction transistor, junction field effect transistor, solar cell, light emitting diode, laser diode, etc.)
  • Understand the behavior of light in solids and how this can be incorporated into photonic devices, waveguides, optical fibers etc.
  • Understand basic magnetic quantities (field, induction, and moment) and phenomena (e.g. induction) and apply to simple devices (D.C. motor, disk drive, and transformer).
  • Demonstrate ability to select materials for device applications based on the desired optical, electrical or magnetic performance of the device.
  • Demonstrate ability to research the literature and to summarize important findings in writing.


  • Lectures: 3 hours per week. Encouragement of classroom participation and discussion.
  • Homework Assignment: Reading assignments to supplement lectures. Seven problem sets, at 1-2 week intervals, to practice application of concepts learned in lectures.
  • Term Paper: Each student researches a particular device to determine how the desired device performance governs the choice of material and processing route. 8-10 page written report.
  • Exams: Two during class time and one final exam, all closed book, to test understanding of concepts (rather than testing numerical problem solving).

Assessment Methods

  • Portfolio Analysis: Graded problem sets form a record from which a quantitative assessment of mastery of concepts can be made. These constitute 10% of final grade.
  • Examinations: Two during class time, approximately 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through the lecture schedule, to test mastery of the first and second third of the material (15% of grade each). Final exam (30% of grade) tests synthesis of concepts.
  • Term Paper: (30% of final grade) assesses ability to research and summarize the literature and to apply materials selection criteria to electronic/optical/magnetic devices.
  • Self Assessment: Students will complete an evaluation to assess how well the objectives and outcomes were satisfied.
  • Instructor Assessment: Instructor will prepare memorandum that summarizes the success of the subject and outlines suggestions for improvement.



    Carrier Fundamentals

    2 Drift and Diffusion of Carriers Problem set 1 out (Semiconductor Fundamentals)
    3 Recombination and Generation  
    4 PN Junction at Equilibrium

    Problem set 1 due
    Problem set 2 out (PN Junctions)

    5 PN Junction Under Bias  
    6 PN Junction: Ideal Diode

    Problem set 2 due
    Problem set 3 out (PN, Transistor, MOS)

    7 Bipolar Junction Transistor  
    8 FETs and MOS  
      Exam 1 (Up to Bipolar Transistor)  
    9 Photodetectors and Photovoltaics  
    10 Solar Cells

    Problem set 3 due
    Problem set 4 out (Photodevices)

    11 LEDs  
    12 Lasers

    Problem set 4 due
    Problem set 5 out (Lasers, LEDs)

    13 Heterostructure Lasers  
    14 Displays

    Problem set 5 due
    Term paper topic due

    15 Optical Fibers  
      Exam 2 (Up to Displays)  
    16 Photonic Devices  
    17 Magnetic Fundamentals  
    18 Magnetic Materials

    Term paper due
    Problem set 6 out (Magnetic Fundamentals)


    Soft Materials



    Hard Materials

    Permanent Magnets

    21 DC Motors

    Problem set 6 due
    Problem set 7 out (Magnetic Devices)

    22 Magnetic Hard Disks and Tapes  
    23 Magnetooptics Problem set 7 due
    24 MRAMs, CDs and DVDs  
    25 Review  
      Final Exam   Tell A Friend