I have seen a number of questions on PN-Junctions, Avalanche Breakdown, Biasing and MOS...etc, that have gone largely untouched; which is understandable, do these types of questions belong here or should they be relegated to Electrical Engineering SE?

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    $\begingroup$ Related: physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/8802/2451 $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Jan 27, 2021 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ The semiconductor-physics tag currently shows 1382 questions with that tag. So, yes, clearly questions on semiconductor physics are allowed. Device operation not so much... $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 27, 2021 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


There’s absolutely a place for semiconductor physics questions here. I’m pretty sure I’ve asked some.

Some questions on the topics you list are actually questions about electromagnetism and the movements of charges in materials, about the energies associated with those moving charges, and how those charges and fields are influenced by the various types of perfect and nearly-perfect crystals which make up semiconductors. Those questions are more likely to get satisfactory answers from our audience of physicists.

Other questions about semiconductor topics are about typical voltage-current response curves, about power requirements and thermal stability, or about a device’s response time. Those types of questions are more likely to get a good answer over at Electrical Engineering.

A rule of thumb that I use is if I think the answer to my electronics question will involve remembering some numbers from the periodic table, then I’ll ask a physicist; if I think it will involve remembering some numbers from a parts catalogue, I’ll ask an engineer.

If you ask a question in the wrong place, once in a blue moon, it’s not a big deal to migrate questions from one site to the other. And if you think that there are existing semiconductor questions that have been neglected here, you’re encouraged to highlight them for a few days by offering a bounty.

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    $\begingroup$ Fully agree. I will say that it seems the number of solid state or semiconductor physics folk is fairly small here. For my part, I avoid the really intro questions on things like holes - there are just too many and there are plenty of answers to be found here already. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 27, 2021 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @JonCuster It's not only a problem of the size of the solid state physics community, but also of the time it takes to answer (in a good and depth way indeed) certain questions which require detailed explanations with figures and equations. Rob, your second and third paragraphs reveal a certain misconception that I see too frequently: as an electronic engineer, and as many other electronic engineers, I know both the device physics, and their characteristics and thermal response usage etc. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2021 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ @MassimoOrtolano - indeed, but as a former EE myself (then went into materials science) there is quite a range from something to get off a data sheet (EE SE) to something I need to re-read half of Sze to remember how I understood it in the first place. Way more of the first extreme, and then too many where they seem to be asking the second extreme but have insufficient background to understand a 'correct' answer (and for that I blame the professors). $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 28, 2021 at 14:59

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