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The University of Southampton

ELEC2227 Semiconductor Devices and Sensors

Module Overview

This module will be first offered in the 2018/19 academic year. To introduce advanced semiconductor devices and to develop a detailed understanding of the design, operating mechanisms and fabrication technology of semiconductor electronic and optoelectronic devices. Field effect technology can be utilised as solid-state chemical sensors, the most common sensor being the ion selective field effect transistor (ISFET). The module will explain the principle of operation of these sensors including the physical chemistry of the electrode-electrolyte interface, and the reference electrodes. An ISFET pH sensor will be investigated during a laboratory exercise and the module will conclude with a discussion of the applications of these sensors in medicine.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The basic operation of the most important semiconductor devices (e.g. p-n diode).
  • How to design features that determine semiconductor device characteristics.
  • How semiconductor properties limitations influence device operation.
  • The improvement of semiconductor device performances by fabrication process.
  • The principle of operation of potentiometric sensors, ISFETs and reference electrodes.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the many and diverse aspects that relate to the operation and exploitation of semiconductor devices.
  • Appreciate semiconductor device technology that revolutionise the electronic industry.
  • Differentiate the semiconductor devices for different electronic and photonic applications.
  • Explain the principles of semiconductor sensors and give examples of their use in diagnostics.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the basic skills in semiconductor device engineering for integrated electronic or photonic circuit application.
  • Understand the issues with semiconductor devices and the challenges for future electronic components.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Investigate the characteristics and performance of different semiconductor devices.
  • Design, model and analyse a number of semiconductor device types.
  • Characterise the pH and ion selectivity of ISFETs.


Review of Semiconductor Device and Technology P-N Junction to Device Technology MOSFETs and CMOS - Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor and Metal-Semiconductor Interface - MOS and MOSFET characteristics: Capacitance, Output Current and Threshold - Enhancement and Depletion mode operation - MOSFET scaling issues - CMOS technology - Future of MOS and MOSFETs - MOS related devices – Thin Film Transistor, Nanowire FETs - Fabrication of MOSFETs Introduction to Bipolar Junction Transistors - Review of BJTs - BJT characteristics - n-p-n and p-n-p BJT operation - Gain and frequency response - BJT technologies - HBTs Optoelectronic Devices - Optical p-n junction devices - Radiative transition in semiconductor - Light Emitting Diodes - Spectral response and emission efficiency - LASER - Gain characteristics and laser modes - Photodetectors - Integrated photonic device applications Semiconductor sensors - Physical chemistry of the electrode-electrolyte interface - pH sensing - ISFETs (lectures and laboratory) - Nanowires and nanoribbons - The principles of potentiometric sensors - Nernst equation - Reference electrodes - Applications in medicine

Learning and Teaching

Specialist Laboratory 3
Total study time39

Resources & Reading list

S. Grimes and O. G. Martinsen (2014). Bioimpedance and Bioelectricity. 

S. O. Kasap. Optoelectronics and Photonics: Principles and Practices. 

B. Streetman & S. Banerjee. Solid State Semiconductor Devices. 

S. M. Sze (2002). Semiconductor Devices: Physics and Technology. 

R. Pethig and S. Smith (2013). Introductory Bioelectronics. 

G. J. Parker (2004). Introductory Semiconductor Device Physics. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 15%
Final Assessment  85%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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