The Materials Science of Semiconductors by Angus Rockett
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The Materials Science of Semiconductors by Angus Rockett

The primary purpose of this book is to convey insight into why semiconductors are the way they are, either because of how their atoms bond with one another, because of mistakes in their structure, or because of how they are produced or processed. The approach is to explore both the science of how atoms interact and to connect the results to real materials properties, and to show the engineering concepts that can be used to produce or improve a semiconductor by design. Along with this I hope to show some applications for the topics under discussion so that one may see how the concepts are applied in the laboratory.

The intended audience of this book is senior undergraduate students and graduate students early in their careers or with limited background in the subject. I intend this book to be equally useful to those teaching in electrical engineering, materials science, or even chemical engineering or physics curricula, although the book is written for a materials science audience primarily.

To try to maintain the focus on materials concepts the details of many of the derivations and equations are left out of the book. Likewise I have not delved into the details of electrical engineering topics in as much detail as an electrical engineer might wish. It is assumed that students are familiar with these topics from earlier courses. The core prerequisite subjects assumed for use of this book are basic chemistry, physics, and electrical circuits. The most essential topics from an intermediate level in these subjects are reviewed.

Students taking my class are assumed to have had a condensed matter physics course and a semiconductor device theory course with significantly more detail than is covered in Chapters 2 and 3. Furthermore they are assumed to have had some organic chemistry (at least at the Freshman undergraduate level) and general materials science courses with significantly more information than I provide in the review in Chapter 4.

In spite of these expectations my audience usually includes graduate students lacking background in at least one of these topics. My background that applies to the material in this book includes more than 25 years doing research in semiconductor materials science and processing. My primary research over the past 18 years has concerned the fundamental materials science of the semiconductor CuInSe2 and related compounds. This material is a fascinating study in all of the topics of materials science rolled into a single field.

As such, the results appear from time to time in the book as illustrations. Given rising concerns about energy world wide, the book also makes reference to solar cells, properly known as photovoltaic devices, in several application sections. This also reflects my long study of that field.

I have taught a class based on the material that is presented in this book for many years. I get through most of the topics, excluding detailed discussions of the applications, in one semester. Each chapter typically gets about three hours of lecture, although Chapters 6, 7, 9, and 12 often receive four to five lectures and Chapter 1 gets one hour. My students have generally been a mixture of senior undergraduate and graduate students. One of the common features of these students is that many, especially the graduate students, lack a strong background in some one of the underlying prerequisite subjects such as condensed matter physics, principles of electronic devices, or materials science.

Therefore the book includes a brief review of these topics in Chapters 2-4 and I cover these subjects very quickly in the class. Even for the students with a background in all of these areas I usually find it helpful to review selected topics from these chapters. In presenting review topics I hope that the book can be useful to a student body that completely lacks a detailed background if the instructor is willing to go through this material.

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