Fundamentals-of-Microelectronics-Behzad-Razavi.pdf

Microelectronics is very heavily based on intuitive

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microelectronics is very heavily based on intuitive understanding, requiring that we go beyond simply writing KVLs and KCLs and interpret the mathematical expressions intuitively, and (2) this course offers many applications of microelectronic devices and circuits in our daily lives. In other words, microelectronics is not as dry as arbitrary RLC circuits consisting of 1- resistors, 1-H inductors, and 1-F capacitors. First Quiz Since different students enter each course with different levels of preparation, I have found it useful to give a 10-minute quiz in the very first lecture. Pointing out that the quiz does not count towards their grade but serves as a gauge of their understanding, I emphasize that the objective is to test their knowledge rather than their intelligence. After collecting the quizzes, I ask one of the teaching assistants to assign a binary grade to each: those who would receive less than are marked with a red star. At the end of the lecture, I return the quizzes and mention that those with a red star need to work harder and interact with the teaching assistants and myself more extensively. The Big Picture A powerful motivational tool in teaching is the “big picture,” i.e., the “prac- tical” application of the concept under study. The two examples of microelectronic systems de- scribed in Chapter 1 serve as the first step toward creating the context for the material covered xv
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xvi in the book. But, the big picture cannot stop here. Each new concept may merit an application— however brief the mention of the application may be—and most of this burden falls on the lecture rather than on the book. The choice of the application must be carefully considered. If the description is too long or the result too abstract, the students miss the connection between the concept and the application. My general approach is as follows. Suppose we are to begin Chapter 2 (Basic Semiconductor Physics). I ask either “What would our world look like without semiconductors?” or “Is there a semiconductor device in your watch? In your cellphone? In your laptop? In your digital camera?” In the ensuing discussion, I quickly go over examples of semiconductor devices and where they are used. Following the big picture, I provide additional motivation by asking, ”Well, but isn’t this stuff old ? Why do we need to learn these things?” I then briefly talk about the challenges in today’s designs and the competition among manufacturers to lower both the power consumption and the cost of portable devices. Analysis versus Synthesis Let us consider the background of the students entering a mi- croelectronics course. They can write KVLs and KCLs efficiently. They have also seen numerous “random” RLC circuits; i.e., to these students, all RLC circuits look the same, and it is unclear how they came about. On the other hand, an essential objective in teaching microelectronics is to develop specific circuit topologies that provide certain characteristics. We must therefore change the students’ mentality from “Here’s a circuit that you may never see again in your life. Analyze
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