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Development And Assessment Of Interactive Spreadsheet Software For The Teaching Of Semiconductor Device Theory

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

11.446.1 - 11.446.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1002

Download Count

60

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Paper Authors

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Ramachandran Venkatasubramanian Arizona State University

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RAMACHANDRAN VENKATASUBRAMANIAN recently graduated with an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. He received his B.E. (Hons.) in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India. His research interests are in mixed-signal circuit design, computer architecture, semiconductor devices and software development for interactive semiconductor education.

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biography

Guillermo G. Mendez Arizona State University

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GUILLERMO G. MENDEZ is a M.S. student in the Mathematics & Statistics department at Arizona State University.

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Brian Skromme Arizona State University

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BRIAN J. SKROMME is Assoc. Professor of Electrical Engineering at Arizona State University, where he has taught primarily solid state courses since 1989, winning two teaching awards. From 1985-9 he was Member of Technical Staff at Bellcore, after obtaining his Ph.D. from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has 120 research publications in compound semiconductor materials and devices, and mentored 17 graduate students.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development and Assessment of Interactive Spreadsheet Software for the Teaching of Semiconductor Device Theory

Abstract

Previously, we reported on the initial development of specialized interactive spreadsheets and supporting exercises to aid in the teaching of semiconductor device concepts. Here, we discuss the continued development, implementation, and optimization of these tools using feedback based on instructor observation, course surveys, student focus groups, and various measures of student performance. The software is designed to serve as a “virtual laboratory” in which students can gain experience and use visualization to observe the inner workings of semiconductor devices, which are not normally directly observable. Quantities such as energy band diagrams, electron and hole concentrations, electric fields and potentials, recombination rates, and current densities are plotted for various devices, whose structural and doping parameters and applied biases can be varied interactively using dialog boxes. The resulting real- time graphical feedback can help to develop intuition and appeal to a variety of learning styles. Statistical analysis has been performed to assess the impact of assigning interactive exercises involving these spreadsheets on student learning. Students have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the quality and value of using this software and the related exercises. The interactive approach used in this software, with ActiveX-based controls over real-time plots, should be extendable to various other subject areas in engineering and physics instruction as well.

Introduction

The tremendous growth of the semiconductor industry has created an increasing demand for engineers who are well trained in the subject of semiconductor device theory. Yet courses in this subject are often very difficult for students, because of the abstract nature of the material and our inability to provide a genuine laboratory experience involving the inner workings of those devices.1,2 To address this problem, we began development of a set of interactive Excel spreadsheets to provide a “virtual laboratory” experience for the students and thereby facilitate active learning processes.2 Here, we discuss the continued development, implementation, and optimization of these tools using feedback based on instructor observation, course surveys, student focus groups, and various measures of student performance.

Typically, students tend to fail to master two major concepts in this subject, the behavior of excess minority carriers in quasi-neutral regions, and the energy band diagram of metal-oxide- semiconductor (MOS) capacitors. They often fail to grasp the relationships between slopes and magnitudes of excess carrier density plots at depletion region boundaries, and between the diffusion currents and instantaneous voltage across a junction, respectively. Students also fail to appreciate the connection between electric fields and band bending in the MOS-C, and the change in field across the oxide-semiconductor interface. They also make typical mistakes relating charge density, electric field, and electrostatic potential. They also have difficulty inferring carrier concentrations from band diagrams. We believe these difficulties can be traced to the use of passive lecture delivery.

Venkatasubramanian, R., & Mendez, G. G., & Skromme, B. (2006, June), Development And Assessment Of Interactive Spreadsheet Software For The Teaching Of Semiconductor Device Theory Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1002

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