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Optical Properties of Semiconductors



David G. Seiler, Stefan Zollner, Alain C. Diebold, Paul Amirtharaj


Rapid advances in semiconductor manufacturing and associated technologies have increased the need for optical characterization techniques for materials analysis and in-situ monitoring/control applications. Optical measurements have many unique and attractive features for studying and characterizing semiconductor properties: (1) they are contactless, nondestructive, and compatible with any transparent ambient including high-vacuum environments; (2) they are capable of remote sensing, and hence are useful for in-situ analysis on growth and processing systems; (3) the high lateral resolution inherent in optical systems may be harnessed to obtain spatial maps of important properties of the semiconductor wafers or devices; (4) combined with the submonolayer sensitivity of a technique such as ellipsometry, optical measurements lead to unsurpassed analytical details; (5) the resolution in time obtainable using short laser pulses allows ultrafast phenomena to be investigated; (6) the use of multichannel detection and high-speed computers can be harnessed for extremely rapid data acquisition and reduction which is crucial for real-time monitoring applications such as in in-situ sensing; (7) they provide information that complements transport analyses of impurity or defect and electrical behavior; (8) they possess the ability to provide long-range, crystal-like properties and hence support and complement chemical and elemental analyses; and (9) finally, most optical techniques are “table-top” procedures that can be implemented by semiconductor device manufacturers at a reasonable cost. All optical measurements of semiconductors rely on a fundamental understanding of their optical properties. In this chapter, a broad overview of the optical properties of semiconductors is given, along with numerous specific examples.
Handbook of Optics
Publisher Info
McGraw Hill, New York, NY


optical, semiconductor, lattice, carrier, magneto-optical, ellipsometry


Seiler, D. , Zollner, S. , Diebold, A. and Amirtharaj, P. (2009), Optical Properties of Semiconductors, Handbook of Optics, McGraw Hill, New York, NY, [online], (Accessed June 18, 2024)


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Created October 19, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017