Low-Field Transport: Theory and Practice

Prof. Mark Lundstrom
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

15 hours, 4 credits

May 17 - May 21, 2010

Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione: Elettronica, Informatica, Telecomunicazioni, via Caruso, meeting room, ground floor

Contacts: Dr. Gianluca Fiori



The objective of this series of lessons is to introduce students to the fundamentals of near-equilibrium transport using a bottom up approach that agrees with traditional methods for large devices but that also works for transport at the nanoscale.

Low-field transport is an old topic that has long been treated in classic textbooks, but with the rapid development of nanoscience and technology, it is changing. An understanding of transport in quantum-confined structures is now essential, and a clear understanding of ballistic transport as well as diffusive transport is also necessary. The lessons will be based on the Landauer approach to transport, which is easier to understand than the traditional approach and more physically sound at the nanoscale. Students will gain an understanding of conventional transport theory (e.g. mobility, thermoelectric effects, etc.) from the Landauer perspective. They will also lean how the Landauer approach relates to the more traditional Boltzmann Transport equation and, at the same time, learn how to apply these concepts in practice.


  • Generic Model for Nanodevices (1 hour)
  • Density of States and Density of Modes (1hour)
  • Resistors in 1D, 2D, and 3D (2 hours)
  • Thermoelectric Effects (2 hours)
  • Landauer and the Drift-Diffusion Equation (1 hour)
  • The Boltzmann Transport Equation (2 hours)
  • The BTE and Landauer (2 hours)
  • Transmssion and Backscattering Mean-Free-Path (1 hour)

The full, semester long course upon which these lessons are based is available here.