ECE 530 Physical Electronics

Properties of charged particles under influence of fields and in solid materials (particularly semiconductors).  Quantum mechanics (square wells, barriers, harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atom), particle statistics (distribution functions, density of states), semi-conductor properties (energy bands, energy-momentum relations, dopants, electrons, holes), fundamental particle transport properties (transport of electrons and holes via drift and diffusion), p-n junctions (electric fields, depletion and neutral regions, current voltage characteristics), lasers and masers (stimulated emission, Einstein coefficients, gain, loss). This course is a prerequisite to most 700 level Nanoelectronic and Photonic courses. 3 credit hours.


• Prerequisite

Undergraduate degree in Electrical/Computer Engineering, Physics or related degree with a basic understanding of undergraduate electromagnetics at the Junior level (e.g. ECE 303 Electromagnetic Fields).  It is highly recommended that students registering for this course should also have had exposure to concepts in modern Physics (elementary quantum mechanics), pn junctions and electrical conductivity (elementary solid state Physics) at the undergraduate level.  Many students find the homework challenging, not so much because of the concepts taught in this course, rather, because they are unfamiliar with the mathematics of differential equations and the associated operators/functions in spherical coordinates.

• Course Objectives

Develop an understanding of the transport and energy-momentum relations of charged carriers in semiconductors.  Employ this knowledge to understand the operation of a pn junction.  By the end of the semester the students will be able to:

  1. Solve Schrodinger’s equation for a simple square well, harmonic oscillator and hydrogen atom using quantum mechanics;
  2. Identify when to use Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics and solve basic population density problems employing the density of states concept;
  3. Understand the transport of electrons and holes in a semiconductor under both drift and diffusion;
  4. Describe the operation of a pn junction based on the transport of electrons and holes through the depletion and neutral regions of a semiconductor junction;
  5. Identify and describe the key elements required for laser operation.

• Course Requirements

HOMEWORK: Best 10 of 11 assignments (15%)

EXAMINATIONS: First class exam (25%), Second in class exam (25%), Final exam (35%)

SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS: Web access is needed to download home work assignments and class notes (Adobe pdf format).  No specific software applications are required to complete the home work assignments. 

PROJECTS: No projects but plenty of long home work assignments to hone your problem solving skills.

• Textbook

There is no required text book.  The instructor’s class notes will be posted in the class locker.  Dr. Hauser’s original typed notes from many years ago will also be posted in the course locker.  A list of recommended books will be provided in the course locker to supplement your background in the various topic areas. 

• Computer and Internet Requirements

NCSU and Engineering Online have recommended minimum computer specifications. For details, click here.

• Instructor

Dr. Robert M. Kolbas, Professor
Monteith Engineering Res.Ctr 434, Box 7911
NCSU Campus
Raleigh, NC 27695

Phone: 919-515-5257
Fax: 919-515-3027