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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[70/75]  BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING [75/00 - Ord. 2014]  PERCORSO COMUNE 10 100


The course consists of 2 parts: The aim of the first part is to provide the student with a physical description of the behavior of the main electronic devices based on Silicon and inorganic crystalline semiconductors. In the second part, a physical description of bio-electronic interfaces, i.e. the base of any system for the detection of biological signals (from bioelectrodes to biosensors) is given. Transport properties of ionic systems are considered in comparison with analog phenomena in inorganic crystalline systems (as silicon), already considered in the first part of the course.


Basic courses of Math and Physics, elements of Chemistry.


Physical properties of semiconductors
- An Introduction to Quantum Mechanics: the energy model of the atom
- From the single atom to crystals: energy band model, band population, Fermi level; Fermi-Dirac Statistics
- Classification of materials according to their conductivity: metals, semiconductors, insulators
- Intrinsic and estrinsic semiconductors: mobility, mass action law
- Drift, Diffusion, Einstein Law
PN Junction:
- Introduction: structure and Internal Electric field distribution, band diagram at equilibrium, Built-in potential
- Solution of the Poisson Equation with abrupt and linear junctions
- C-V and I-V in the ideal case
- Non ideal cases: effect of the junction dimension, generation-ricombination effects, neutral regions resistivity, high level of injection.
- Junction Breakdown mechanisms
- Equivalent circuits: small signal, linearization of I-V, Q-V curves
Metal-semiconductor contacts:
- Introduction: structure, equilibrium band diagram, classification of interfaces based on energies
- Schottky contacts: definition of barrier height, analysis of internal electric fields and of charge distribution; I-V, C-V curves; non ideal cases
- Interface classification: chemical-physical effects
- Ohmic contacts: specific resistance
Field Effect Transistors
- Transistors as active devices: how it works, field effect
- MOS Structure: band diagram analysis, charge distribution, Poisson Equaton, internal potentials, C-V curves
- MOSFET structure: analysis of the physical behavior, I-V, C-V curves, equivalent circuit model

5) Circuits with diodes and transistors
Simple examples, and circuit solutions

6) Semiconductor Technology
- Crystal Growth Tecniques
- Semiconductors doping
- Insulating layers
- Metal and poly-silicon deposition
- Device encapsulation
Elements of Biophysics: a general introduction to interaction phenomena between atoms and molecules: thermodynamics, chemical and physical interactions, interactions between polar and polarizable molecules. Van der Waals forces, hydrophylic and hydrophobic interactions.
Water properties and interaction of biomolecules in liquid environments
Biological macromolecules
From lipid membranes to cells
Electrical phenomena involving cells
Bio-electronic interfaces: electrodes, EIS (Electrolyte-Insulator-Semiconductor) system
Organic Semiconductors Physics and application to electronic devices

Teaching Methods

The course is taught by means of oral lectures for both parts of the course. In the first part, also exercize sessions are organized in order to give the student the ability of solving problems concerning the theoretical part. In the second part, there is a number of seminars concerning topics related to more advanced research aspects on novel materials and devices based on physical mechanisms and technologies shown in the course.

Verification of learning

The final examination consists of a written part made of 2 exercises, and an oral part. The written part allows assessing the ability of the student to apply the knowledge acquired to more practical problems. In the written part, the exercize specifically concerns pn junctions and metal-semiconductor junctions, while the second exercize is on MOS and MOSFET devices. Only students with a mark on the written part higher or equal to 15 may participate to the oral part. The mark obtained in the oral part is averaged with the mark obtained in the written part with a possible rounding of no more than 20%.


Primo Modulo (First part)
L. Colombo, “Elementi di struttura della materia”, Hoepli Editore, Milano
M. Guzzi, “Principi di fisica dei semiconduttori”, Hoepli Editore, Milano
S. M. Sze, “Dispositivi a semiconduttore, comportamento fisico e tecnologia”, Hoepli
R.S. Muller, T.I. Kamins, “Dispositivi elettronici nei circuiti integrati”, Bollati Boringhieri
G. Ghione, “Dispositivi per la microelettronica”,
McGraw-Hill Addison-Wesley Modular Series on Solid State Devices (sono una serie di volumi in inglese, ciascuno dedicato ad un particolare dispositivo)
Secondo Modulo (Second Part):
- testo in preparazione

More Information

Students are strongly encouraged to make the final exam immediately after the conclusion of the lecture period. To this aim, only in the exam period that immediately follows the end of the lecture period, they can make separately the written part and the oral part (i.e. in different dates provided they are in the same exam period). The only constraint is that the written part must precede the oral part. In the other exam periods, written and oral must be necessarily made in the same exam date.

Questionnaire and social

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