Carnegie Mellon University

Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering

Course Information

18-817: Applied Physics: Fundamentals of Semiconductors and Nanostructures




This course is designed to provide students with a foundation of the physics required to understand nanometer-scale structures and to expose them to different aspects of ongoing research in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Illustrative examples will be drawn from the area of semiconductor nanostructures, including their applications in novel and next-generation electronic, photonic, and sensing devices. The course begins with a review of basic concepts in quantum physics (wave-particle duality, Schrödinger's equation, particle-in-a-box, approximation methods in quantum mechanics, etc.) and then continues with a discussion of bulk three-dimensional solids (band structure, density of states, the single-electron effective-mass approximation). Size effects due to nanometer-scale spatial localization are then discussed within a quantum-confinement model in one-, two-, and three- dimensions for electrons. An analogous discussion for photons is also presented. The basic electronic, optical, and mechanical properties of the low-dimensional nanostructures are then discussed. A select number of applications in electronics, photonics, biology, chemistry, and bioengineering will be discussed to illustrate the range of utility of nanostructures. Upon completion of the course, students will have an appreciation and an understanding of some of the fundamental concepts in nanoscience and nanotechnology. The course is suitable for first-year graduate students in engineering and science (but advanced undergraduates with appropriate backgrounds may also take it with permission from the instructor).

3 hrs. lec.

Prerequisites: 09-511, 09-701, 09-702, 18-303, 18-310, 18-402, 27-770, 33-225, 33-234 or familiarity with the material or basic concepts covered in these courses and senior or graduate standing.

Last Modified: 2022-11-17 2:23PM

Semesters offered:

  • Spring 2023
  • Spring 2021
  • Spring 2019
  • Spring 2017
  • Spring 2015
  • Spring 2013
  • Spring 2011
  • Spring 2009
  • Spring 2007
  • Spring 2006
  • Spring 2005