General Information Edit

This is a comprehensive undergraduate level course on microelectronics. Topics covered include basic semiconductor physics, electrons and holes in semiconductors, electrical transport in semiconductors, PN junctions and diodes, MOS capacitiors, MOS field effect transistors, bipolar junction transistors, large signal and small signal models of electronic devices, single stage amplifiers, multistage amplifiers, differential amplifiers, analog circuit analysis and design, high-frequency models of devices, high-frequency circuit analysis, digital logic and MOS logic devices, complimentary MOS (or CMOS) logic gates, fundamental trade-offs in high speed analog and digital circuit design.

Prerequisites Edit

ECE 2100

Topics Covered Edit

  • Solid State Physics
  • Semiconductor Physics
  • PN Junctions and PN Diodes
  • Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs) [One lecture]
  • Field Effect MOS Transistors (MOSFETs)
  • Large Signal and Small Signal Modeling of Devices and Circuits
  • Single-Stage/Multi-Stage Amplifiers
  • Differential Amplifiers
  • High Frequency Modeling of Devices and Circuits
  • Misc. Circuits
  • Digital Logic Circuits
  • Static CMOS Logic Gates
  • CMOS memory, SRAM, DRAM, registers

Workload Edit

Moderate to heavy, depending on the semester and the professor teaching the course.

  • Problem Sets - 8-11 total and fairly challenging and time consuming. Professor Shealy's problem sets (SP14) were bi-weekly and about half the problems were of his own creation. Otherwise, the problem sets were book problems from Razavi's Introduction to Microelectronics. Professor Afshari's (SP 12/13) problem sets were for the most part taken from the textbook. Rana (SP'15) made his own problems; most were very time consuming! Make sure you know circuit analysis from 2100.
  • Labs - 4-6 total, similar to those in ECE 2100.
  • Exams - 2 prelims or 1 midterm [Rana], and 1 final.

Follow on Courses at the 4000 Level Edit

  • ECE 4530 (Analog Integrated Circuit Design) - Focuses on design techniques for analog circuits and picks up from where ECE 3150 ends and covers more advanced material.
  • ECE 4570 (Silicon Device Fundamentals) - Covers device physics, including sub-micron transistors, in more detail than ECE 3150. Essential for those interested in devices. Helpful for those interested in circuits.
  • ECE 4070 (Physics of Semiconductors and Nanostructures) Focuses on solid state and semiconductor physics and physics of nanostructures for electronic and photonic device applications.
  • ECE 4740 (Digital VLSI) - Digital design using transistors. Digital VLSI design.
  • ECE 4630 (Nanofabrication) Covers fabrication of semiconductor micro and nano structures and devices.
  • ECE 4060 (Quantum Physics) Covers quantum physics required for understanding electronic and photonic devices. Jointly offered with MSE. Also look at equivalent courses offered in the Physics department (e.g. PHYS 3316). AEP 3610 is not suitable for ECE students since its first half covers quantum physics and its second half covers E&M.

Advice Edit

  • Be prepared to learn a lot of device physics and circuit design.
  • Attend the sections offered by Rana - that is where you will really learn problem solving skills.
  • If you are looking for a gentler introduction to microelectronic devices and circuits, this course is not it.
  • I found this class far more challenging and demanding than other 3000 level courses.
  • Don't miss the lectures, or fall behind. It will be nearly impossible to catch up.
  • Small signal analysis is used heavily throughout the second half of the course (and in ECE 4530) so make sure you understand it well.
  • One of the best courses I have taken at Cornell. You will learn a lot. But be prepared to put in the work.
  • Recommend getting final project proposal approved by Prof. Rana himself, since we were lucky that he came into lab and told us that our design wouldn't work given the lab equipment (the TAs did not catch this and approved our design)
  • You get to make a 3 sheet formula cheat sheet for midterm and 6 sheet formula cheat sheet for final. Start making it immediately and keep adding on to it (or rewriting/revising it) after each lecture as the semester goes on. Will save you so much time and good way to study before the exams. (write small and in thin ink to put a lot and have a lot of space left over for diagrams)

Past Offerings Edit




Median Grade

Spring 2014

MWF 10:10 - 11:00

James Shealy


Spring 2015

MWF 10:10 - 11:00

Farhan Rana


Spring 2016

MWF 10:10 - 11:00

Farhan Rana


Spring 2017 MWF 10:10 - 11:00 Farhan Rana B
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