Carrier generation and recombination

Carrier Generation And Recombination

Carrier generation and recombination

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In the solid state physics of semiconductors, carrier generation and recombination are processes by which mobile charge carrier (electrons and electron holes) are created and eliminated. Carrier generation and recombination processes are fundamental to the operation of many optoelectronic semiconductor devices, such as photodiodes, LEDs and laser diodes. They are also critical to a full analysis of p-n junction devices such as bipolar junction transistors and p-n junction diodes.

The electron–hole pair is the fundamental unit of generation and recombination, corresponding to an electron transitioning between the valence band and the conduction band.

Band structure

Like other solids, semiconductor materials have electronic band structure determined by the crystal properties of the material. The actual energy distribution among the electrons is described by the Fermi energy and the temperature of the electrons. At absolute zero temperature, all of the electrons have energy below the Fermi energy; but at non-zero temperatures the energy levels are filled following a Boltzmann distribution.

In semiconductors the Fermi energy lies in the middle of a forbidden band or band gap between two allowed bands called the valence band and the conduction band. The valence band, immediately below the forbidden band, is normally very nearly completely occupied. The conduction band, above the Fermi level, is normally nearly completely empty. Because the valence band is so nearly full, its...
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