Development and assessment of interactive spreadsheet software for the teaching of semiconductor device theory

Ramachandran Venkatasubramanian, Guillermo G. Mendez, Brian Skromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previously, we reported on the initial development of specialized interactive spreadsheets and supporting exercises to aid in the teaching of semiconductor device concepts. Here, we discuss the continued development, implementation, and optimization of these tools using feedback based on instructor observation, course surveys, student focus groups, and various measures of student performance. The software is designed to serve as a "virtual laboratory" in which students can gain experience and use visualization to observe the inner workings of semiconductor devices, which are not normally directly observable. Quantities such as energy band diagrams, electron and hole concentrations, electric fields and potentials, recombination rates, and current densities are plotted for various devices, whose structural and doping parameters and applied biases can be varied interactively using dialog boxes. The resulting real-time graphical feedback can help to develop intuition and appeal to a variety of learning styles. Statistical analysis has been performed to assess the impact of assigning interactive exercises involving these spreadsheets on student learning. Students have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the quality and value of using this software and the related exercises. The interactive approach used in this software, with ActiveX-based controls over real-time plots, should be extendable to various other subject areas in engineering and physics instruction as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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