Electrical, Optical & Magnetic Materials and Devices

In 3.15x we will explore the electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of materials and learn how electronic devices are designed to exploit these properties.

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
19,321 already enrolled!
Estimated 16 weeks
8–12 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed

About this course

Skip About this course

This course will explain the basis of the electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of materials including semiconductors, metals, organics and insulators, and will show how devices are built to take advantage of those properties. It is illustrated with a wide range of devices, placing a strong emphasis on new and emerging technologies. Applications presented include diodes, transistors, photodetectors, solar cells (photovoltaics), displays, light emitting diodes, lasers, optical fibers and optical communications, photonic devices, magnetic data storage, motors, transformers and spintronics.

Image attribution: Disk drive: KEURT Datenrettung, Lasers: US Navy Surface Warfare Center, Computer Chip: Jon Sullivan

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Engineering
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    • Physics, calculus, and chemistry at the first year university level
    • Familiarity with materials structure and bonding
    • A background in solid state physics is helpful, but is not absolutely essential

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn

Part 1:

  • The origins of semiconductor properties
  • Carrier action in semiconductors: drift, diffusion, recombination and generation
  • The behavior of p-n junctions at equilibrium and under bias
  • The derivation and application of the ideal diode equation, and how real diodes differ from ideal diodes
  • Operating principles of bipolar junction transistors and MOSFETs

Part 2:

  • The fundamental operating principles of photodevices
  • LED and heterojunction laser materials selection and design
  • Fundamentals of organic electronics and liquid crystal displays
  • An overview of photonic systems
  • Optical fibers: dispersion, losses, and design choices

Part 3:

  • Fundamentals of magnetism
  • The role anisotropy plays in the magnetic behavior of materials
  • The operating principles of transformers and DC motors
  • How data is stored on hard disks
  • Principles of optical and magnetooptical storage

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.