Materials in Today's World



Conventional integrated circuit technology is approaching its theoretical limits. Scientists and engineers are turning to materials which utilize quantum dynamics to push past the conventional materials limits. Nanoelectronics is a promising replacement possibility with a wide range of potential future applications. In this lesson, we introduce the basics of semiconductor technology, as well as the basics of going nano.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Describe the four possible electron band structures for solid materials.
  • For a p–n junction, explain the rectification process.
  • Explain the concept of nanotechnology as it applies to materials.

Lesson Roadmap

Lesson 12 will take us one week to complete. Please refer to Canvas for specific due dates.

Lesson Roadmap
To Read

Pages 340 to 366 (Chapter 16) of Materials for Today's World, Custom Edition for Penn State University (custom e-book)

The following required readings can be found in Canvas by accessing Library Resources:
Pages 245 to 251 (Chapter 32) of Materials in Today's World by Peter Thrower and Thomas Mason
Pages 253 to 255 (Chapter 33) of Materials in Today's World by Peter Thrower and Thomas Mason

To Watch Making Stuff: Smaller
To Do Lesson 12 Quiz


If you have general questions about the course content or structure, please post them to the General Questions and Discussion forum in Canvas. If your question is of a more personal nature, feel free to send a message to all faculty and TAs through Canvas email. We will check daily to respond.