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Published July 1, 1966 | Published
Journal Article Open

Barrier Lowering and Field Penetration at Metal-Dielectric Interfaces


We report here photoemission measurements on Si-SiO_2-Al structures in which the metal-SiO_2 barrier energy has been determined as a function of the electric field strength E in the dielectric. The expected barrier lowering is the sum of two terms: a) the Schottky term, proportional to E^(1/2) and b) a term due to the penetration of the electric field into the metal electrode, proportional to E. The experimental results are in good agreement with the model, where the Schottky effect involves the optical value of the dielectric constant of the oxide and the Thomas-Fermi screening distance in the metal is 1 Å. To our knowledge this represents the first unambiguous quantitative determination of either effect in a polar dielectric, although the Schottky effect alone has been observed in silicon.

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© 1966 The American Institute of Physics. Received 2 May 1966; in final form 3 June 1966. Supported in part by the Office of Naval Research.

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