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Introduction to Compound Semiconductor Electronics: Part 1 (online)

This course will provide/enhance your knowledge of compound semiconductor electronics technology and its applications.

This is an online course that you can undertake in your own time. The training will take approximately 3.5 hours to complete.

Delivery will be via a variety of online and interactive activities such as short videos and test-your-knowledge exercises.

Please note: We are only able to accept payment by credit card for this course. You will receive access to the course materials no later than 1 week after making payment. You will have access for 2 months from the date you first access the learning materials.

Your trainer will be Dr John Hadden, Lecturer in Quantum Technologies.

Enrol on this course

Start date Days and times
28 May 2024 3.5 hour course to be taken in your own time

Who it’s for

Any of the following:

  • those working in the semiconductor sector who wish to up-skill their knowledge of compound semiconductor electronics
  • employees of the CSconnected cluster and their supply chain partners
  • those looking to re-train into the semiconductor/ compound semiconductor sector
  • those supporting the sector – such as public sector employees, secondary school/ FE College teachers/ careers advisors/ youth influencers
  • A-level and undergraduate level students studying electronics or science subjects who are potentially interested in a career in the semiconductor/ compound semiconductor sector

What level is the course pitched at?

This is an introductory level course that could be suitable for people from a wide range of backgrounds.

The science element is pitched at around A-level standard, so to get the best experience from the course we advise that participants have some degree of background knowledge and basic understanding of physics / science or engineering. For example, it would be useful to have a basic knowledge of atoms and electrons.

What you’ll learn

Compound Semiconductors are essential materials to modern and new technologies such as 5G, driverless cars, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). They also have a key role to play in helping to address some of the challenges of the modern world, including sustainability and the net zero agenda.

You may be more familiar with Silicon, which has been the backbone of the electronics revolution from the 1960s. Being a single element from the periodic table, Silicon has a limited set of properties. Compound Semiconductors have superior properties to Silicon, enabling many new and innovative technologies and devices such as:

  • power (power electronics for electric vehicles)
  • speed (radio frequency for 5G and RADAR)
  • light (photonics for optical fibre communications)

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • explain semiconductor electronics – what it is and where it is found in everyday life
  • describe, in simple terms, what semiconductor materials are, including the difference between elemental (silicon) and compound semiconductor materials
  • describe, at a basic level, how semiconductor electronic circuits are made
  • understand, in simple terms, semiconductor applications and which semiconductors may be appropriate depending on performance and cost considerations
  • appreciate the current and future marketplace applications for compound semiconductor electronics
  • explain how compound semiconductor electronics is contributing to society, to the development of new technologies, and helping to address the challenges of the modern world
We offer a Part 2 face-to-face session for this course, which builds on the online materials in Part 1. This session is optional and must be booked and paid for separately.

Topics covered

  • simple physics behind semiconductor properties
  • strengths of compound semiconductors for certain applications e.g.  gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) in comparison to silicon (Si) and other compound semiconductors
  • how compound semiconductor electronic devices are made including:
    • material growth (epitaxy)
    • nano and micro fabrication
    • characterisation/testing
  • applications of semiconductor electronics and compound semiconductor electronics, including:
    • diodes and transistors
    • power devices
    • RF
    • LEDs
    • solar cells
    • sensors
  • an overview of challenges in compound semiconductor electronics technology development, from wafer to integrated circuits
  • demystifying key words/concepts from the sector


This is an e-learning course that can be accessed remotely in your own time. It is approx. 3.5 hours of online materials which are structured into sections consisting of multiple short videos and some test-your-knowledge activities. There is also a Discussion Board where participants can pose questions to the tutor and others on the course.

Teaching and useful information

This course is designed for you to complete in your own time and at your own pace. There is no live element but you will have the opportunity to contact the lead tutor. The course will be delivered via the University's virtual learning platform, Learning Central. Your individual login details will be emailed to you a few days before your course access begins.

You will have access to the course materials for two months.

A CPD Certificate of Completion will be issued to learners who achieve 70% or more in the end of course test.

Course lead

John (JP) Hadden is a Lecturer in Quantum Technologies at Cardiff School of Engineering.

JP’s research focusses on nano-photonics, quantum optics, and quantum sensing technologies based on single photon emitting colour centres in wide bandgap semiconductor materials such as gallium nitride, diamond and 2D materials.

JP is an academic at Cardiff University’s Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS), which is part of the CSconnected cluster. The ICS is a leader in compound semiconductor research and provides a platform where researchers and industry can work together.


This course has been developed by the University in collaboration with industry partners from the CSconnected cluster, the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster based in and around South Wales in the United Kingdom, using funding provided by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund.

Each course is a bite-sized introduction to a key areas of the compound semiconductor industry, and is designed for participants to complete at a time that suits them. Courses have been created in consultation and partnership with companies in the CSconnected cluster to ensure they are relevant and useful.

Courses are designed to:

  • upskill workers in the industry who wish to enhance their knowledge of compound semiconductor electronics
  • help reskill those who wish to retrain to enter the industry, or provide knowledge and context for those supporting the sector

Available funding

For individuals

  • ReAct+ - up to £1,500 for relevant skills training for those 18+ who are resident in Wales and unemployed or under formal notice of redundancy. For more details, click here

For organisations

  • Flexible Skills Programme funding – up to 50% funding support to Wales-based businesses. For details, click here
  • ReAct+ - up to £1,000 for job-related skills training when recruiting someone 18+ who is resident in Wales and unemployed or under formal notice of redundancy. For more details, click here
Find out about a new suite of short courses designed to support the CPD needs of CSconnected, the compound semiconductor cluster in South Wales