Professional Course

Fundamentals of Current Flow

edX, Online
5 weeks
5 weeks
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Course description

Fundamentals of Current Flow

Very different from what is taught in standard courses, "Fundamentals of Current Flow" provides a unified conceptual framework for ballistic and diffusive transport of both electrons and phonons - essential information for understanding nanoelectronic devices.

The traditional description of electronic motion through a solid is based on diffusive transport, which means that the electron takes a random walk from the source to the drain of a transistor, for example. However, modern nanoelectronic devices often have channel lengths comparable to a mean free path so that electrons travel ballistically, or "like a bullet."

Verified students taking this course will be required to complete three (3) proctored exams using the edX online Proctortrack software.

Who should attend?


Students in engineering or the physical sciences, knowledge of differential equations and linear algebra.

Training content

Week 1: The New Perspective

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Two Key Concepts
  • 1.3 Why Electrons Flow
  • 1.4 Conductance Formula
  • 1.5 Ballistic (B) Conductance

Week 2: The New Perspective (Continued)

  • 1.6 Diffusive (D) Conductance
  • 1.7 Connecting B to D
  • 1.8 Angular Averaging
  • 1.9 Drude Formula
  • 1.10 Summing Up

Week 3: Energy Band Model

  • 2.1. Introduction
  • 2.2. E(p) or E(k) Relation
  • 2.3. Counting States
  • 2.4. Density of States
  • 2.5. Number of Modes

Week 4: Energy Band Model (Continued)

  • 2.6. Electron Density (n)
  • 2.7. Conductivity vs. n
  • 2.8 - 2.9 Bonus Lectures; NOT covered on exams
  • 2.10 Summing Up

Week 5: What and Where is the Voltage

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 A New Boundary Condition
  • 3.3 Quasi-Fermi Levels (QFL's)
  • 3.4 Current from QFL's
  • 3.5 Landauer Formulas
  • 3.6 - 3.10 Bonus Lectures; NOT covered on exams

Course delivery details

This course is offered through Purdue University, a partner institute of EdX.

5-6 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$750
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • Ballistic and diffusive conductance
  • Density of states
  • Number of modes
  • Conductivity
  • Landauer formula

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141 Portland Street
02139 Cambridge Massachusetts


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