84542 - Semiconductor Materials and Nanostructures

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will learn the basic aspects of the physics of semiconducting materials, devices and interfaces, by studying in particular their transport and optical properties. He/she will be introduced also to quantum confinement effects in low dimensional systems and their application to optoelectronic and electronic devices.

Course contents

MODULE 1- 4.5 CFU Physics of semiconductors and low dimensional structures (prof Cavalcoli)

  1. Semiconductor Physics. Elements of crystal structures, band structure and electronic levels of semiconductors. Ideal and Real crystals (role of defects, surfaces and interfaces). The chemical potential, Statistics. Transport properties, effective mass, current density, conductivity, generation- recombination mechanisms. Shockley Read Hall model. Optical properties of semiconductors.
  2. Surface and interface effects. Schottky model of metal-semiconductor devices. Metal Oxide Semiconductor structure and band diagram, MOS in strong inversion condition, introduction to quantum confinement effects.
  3. Quantum confinement in 2, 1 and 0 dimensions: Band gap engineering. Vergard’s law. quantum wells, wires and dots. Electrical and optical properties of low dimensional semiconductors. Growth and deposition of semiconductor nanostructures: methods and mechanisms. Quantum confinement effects in different confinement potentials. Rectangular potential wells and barriers. Harmonic oscillator. Particle in a spherically symmetric potential. Excitons in semiconductors at the nanoscale. Weak and strong quantum confinement effects. Influence on the optical properties. Investigation of semiconductor nanostructures by electrical, optical and microscopical methods.
  4. Applications of semiconductor nanostructures: Photovoltaic conversion. Advanced (3rd generation) solar cells.

MODULE 2- 1.5 CFU (prof Laura Basiricò):

Physics of Organic Semiconductors

  1. Organic Electronics: Historical Remarks and Overview – The Molecular Orbital Theory (MO-LCAO) – optical properties - Charge carrier generation and transport – Purification, growth and deposition methods – Impurities, defects and trap states.
  2. Applications of organic semiconductors: Organic Field Effect Transistors, Organic light emitting devices, Organic Solar Cells, Organic photodetectors, Organic bioelectronics


Module 1

YU, Peter, Cardona, Manuel Fundamentals of Semiconductors: Physics and Materials Properties, Springer

Grundmann M. The Physics of Semiconductors, Springer

Tyagi M. Introduction of Semiconductor Physics and Devices, Wiley

M Jaros Physics and Applications of Semiconductor Microstructures, Oxford Science

J Davis The Physics of Low Dimensional Semiconductors, Cambridge University Press

Module 2

M. Pope and C. E. Swenberg, “Electronic processes in organic crystals and polymers”, Oxford University Press, 1999.

W. Brütting, “Physics of Organic Semiconductors”, Wiley -VCH, 2008

M. Scwoerer, H. C. Wolf, “Organic Molecular Solids”, Wiley -VCH, 2007

Teaching methods

Lectures. Group Discussion on Selected Topics.

Assessment methods

The assessment of the achievement of the learning outcomes is based on the following steps:

  • The student will prepare a report focused on one of the topics of the course where a recent literature research will be also presented. This report must be send by e-mail to the teacher 10 days before the oral exam date.
  • Oral exam: the assessment of the course learning outcomes will start from the topics of the student's report and will cover the main issues of the course.

The final score depends on the capability of the student in the presentation and/or critical analyses of the topics of the course.

Teaching tools

PC, projector, blackboard

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Daniela Cavalcoli

See the website of Laura Basiricò