ECSE-4997/6220: Physical Foundations of Solid-State Devices


The strategy of the United States is to restore the eminence in advanced electronics. This effort will create many jobs for engineers who will work on advanced chips that operate completely differently from the transistors of the 20th century. The existing courses do not address the new physics that is a prerequisite for designing and fabricating modern chips. This course will address the physics foundations of advanced semiconductor devices and circuits. It will help students reach the level required to understand modern technology and research papers dealing with advanced semiconductor devices.  It will introduce concepts, such as quantum transport, ballistic t transport, ballistic mobility, high field effects, polarization doping, thin-film transistor technology


The 5G and Beyond 5G WIFI revolution has just started and it inspired research on new materials and new devices that push the technology into the quantum limits. How will it change the way electronics is designed and made? Why do APPLE and SAMSUNG use a 5 nm technology node and SAMSUNG and TSMC are moving toward 3 nm and even 1 nm (!) nodes at 20 billion to 2.4 trillion (!) integration scale (15 atoms of Si barely fit into 3 nm)? Why has Global Foundry, LLC abandoned the development of the 7 nm technology?

US, China, European Union all heavily invest in quantum computing. But is quantum computing for real? How does

it work? When will quantum computing happen? What will it do? What are the quantum computing services that IBM is offering?

One of the US National Science Foundation “big ideas” is the “quantum leap.” What is it? Why is it a “big idea”?


This course teaches the physical foundations needed for understanding of device physics and operation of advanced electronic and photonic solid-state devices. These foundations include the basics of quantum mechanics, the band structures, semiconductor statistics, doping, heterostructures, and transport. The course will help you find answers to the above and many other intriguing and pertinent questions. And it will prepare you to other graduate level courses on semiconductor and optoelectronic devices.

Instructor: Prof. Michael Shur, RPI, Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering; 110 Eighth Street, Troy NY 12180, phone: 518-421-8830, Email:


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