nanoHUB-U: Essentials of MOSFETs

This course develops a simple framework for understanding the essential physics of modern nanotransistors and also discusses important technology considerations and circuit applications.

  1. ballistic transport
  2. Compact Model
  3. electrostatics
  4. HEMTs
  5. Landauer approach
  6. mean-free-path
  8. nanoelectronics
  9. nanoHUB-U
  10. nanotransistors
  11. NCN Group - Nanoelectronics
  12. PURDUE ECE Breath at the Edges initiative
  13. transistors
  14. virtual source model


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The transistor has been called the greatest invention of the 20th century – it enabled the electronics systems that have shaped the world we live in. Today’s nanotransistors are a high volume, high impact success of the nanotechnology revolution. This is a course on how this scientifically interesting and technologically important device operates.

The objective for this course is to provide students with an understanding of the essential physics of nanoscale transistors as well as some of the practical technological considerations and applications. The goal is to do this in a way that is broadly accessible to students with only a very basic knowledge of semiconductor physics and electronic circuits. The course is designed for anyone seeking a sound, physical, but simple understanding of how modern transistors, specifically MOSFETS, operate. This course covers the traditional theory of MOSFETs with micrometer to sub-micrometer channel lengths, as well as modern, nanoscale MOSFETs with channel lengths of 20 nanometers (0.02 micrometers) or so. The course should be useful for advanced undergraduates, beginning graduate students, as well as practicing engineers and scientists.

This course is part of a Purdue initiative that aims to complement the expertise that students develop with the breadth at the edges needed to work effectively in today's multidisciplinary environment.  These serious short courses require few prerequisites and provide a general framework that can be filled in with self-study when needed.

What you'll learn:

  • How to understand MOSFET IV characteristics and device metrics and how to analyze measured transistors characteristics to extract key device parameters.
  • The physical operating principles of barrier-controlled transistors such as MOSFETs.
  • 1D/2D/3D MOS electrostatics and an appreciation of the need for advanced MOSFET structures such as the FinFET.
  • How modern transport theory (the transmission approach) is applied to nanoscale MOSFETs.
  • A first look at other transistors and an appreciation of the role that physics-based compact models for MOSFETs play in circuit and system design.