MEng Electronic Engineering

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Electronic Materials

Course unit fact file
Unit code EEEN10021
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will cover the following topics:

Introduction to nanotechnology and its importance in today’s society


  • Elementary Materials Science

            - Atomic structure and elementary particles (proton, neutron, electron and photon)

            - Bonding and types of solid (e.g. metals, insulators and semiconductors)

            - Crystal structure, properties, and impurities/defects

            - Thermal effects

  • Electrical and thermal conduction

            - Drude model (metals and conduction, concept of phonons)

            - Temperature effects on conduction (conductivity and thermal resistance)

            - Additional extrinsic effects (Hall & Seebeck/Peltier effect)

  • Modern Model of Solids

            - Band theory of solids (electrons and holes in periodic potentials)

            - Effective mass and density of states

            - Fermi energy, ionisation potential and work function

  • Semiconductors

            - Energy diagrams in k-space (direct and indirect bandgaps) 

            - Conduction in semiconductors (electron/hole populations) 

            - Intrinsic/Extrinsic semiconductors (n-, p-type, compensation doping) 

            - Temperature & impurity dependence of conductivity (drift mobility) 

  • Semiconductor Devices

            - p-n, p-i-n junctions (forward/reverse biased, depletion & capacitance) 

            - Bi-polar and FET devices 

            - Optical devices (LEDs, PV, …) 



This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in the current academic year and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.

The course unit aims to:

  • Introduce nanotechnology and its importance in today’s society (e.g. applications in healthcare, security, and energy)
  • Introduce basic materials physics and explain how insulating, semiconducting and metallic properties arise in solids.
  • Explain how semiconductors can be engineered (e.g. via doping) to exhibit controlled electrical and optical properties within a device.
  • Describe the fundamental building blocks and operation of key semiconductor devices (e.g. field effect transistors)

Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:




  • Describe different types of solids (metals, semiconductors, insulators), bonding and crystal structure




  • Describe the different types of conduction in solids and explain how temperature affects this conduction  




  • Sketch energy band diagrams for different types of solids, including n-type and p-type doped semiconductors.




  • Calculate electron/hole concentrations and Fermi energy in doped semiconductors




  • Explain how a p-n/p-i-n junction operates in forward and reverse bias and describe its applications in MOSFET and BJT devices




  • Calculate the built-in potential, depletion width, diffusion current in a pn junction and emitter/base/collector current in a BJT




Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures (use of lecture slides to introduce content)
  • Interactive online Kahoot multiple-choice quizzes during lectures
  • Discussion Forum on Blackboard
  • Use of Dashboard during lectures to collect questions and queries (e.g. revision topics to cover)
  • Throwable Microphone
  • Problem Classes (peer-learning on tutorial-style questions).


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%

Online Multiple-Choice Quiz.

Length: 30 Minutes

How and when feedback is provided: Immediate via marks on Blackboard.

Weighting: 0% * forms part of the unseen exam

Coursework: 2 Laboratory Sessions that are assessed by submission of assessment form with key questions based around on lab session and data collected. 

Length: 3 Hours

How and when feedback is provided: 2 weeks after submission via marks and feedback comments on Blackboard. 

Weighting: 10%

Tutorial Questions: Activity delivered as part of weekly tutorials:

How and when feedback is provided: 1 week after submission.

Weighting: 10%

Recommended reading

Principles of Electronic Materials and Devices by S.O.Kasap, 3rd Edition

Semiconductor Devices: Physics and Technology by Sze, 3rd edition

Materials Science for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Ian Jones,


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Practical classes & workshops 6
Tutorials 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 58

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jessica Boland Unit coordinator

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