Formation and Electrical Properties of Metal-Semiconductor Contacts

  • L. Lassabatère
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Physics book series (SPPHY, volume 22)


Metal-semiconductor contacts are at the same time an old and a new research topic. The earliest systematic investigation on these contacts is generally attributed to Braun, who in 1874 noted the dependence of the resistance of metal-lead sulfide contacts on the polarity of applied voltage. Afterwards, in 1904, point-contact rectifiers found practical applications and were used as radio-wave detectors. Since then numerous experimental and theoretical studies have been carried out, and now this structure plays a key role in many electronics devices. In the form of an ohmic contact, it is used in devices needing very low resistance contacts in order to get high performance and reliable operation. This is the case in lasers, light emitting diodes, Gunn diodes, MESFETs, and so on. In the form of rectifying contacts characterized by a high value of the interface barrier, it is found in Schottky diodes, in microwave mixer diodes, in metal-semiconductor field effect transistors and their associated integrated circuits, in photodiodes, in solar cells and so forth. Therefore, the need for reliable, well-controlled and easy to reproduce contacts is very high, and this explains why increasing research has been carried out in the last few years in order to obtain a better understanding and manufacturing processes of the contact. However, in spite of several decades of research, which really began in 1938 with Schottky’s /I/ and Mott’s /2/ work, our knowledge of the fundamental behaviour of this contact is still very far from complete. Its structure, made only of two components, is apparently simple, but in fact many parameters contribute to the real nature and to the final properties of the interface.


Fermi Level Surface State Barrier Height Work Function Interface State 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Lassabatère
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Etudes des Surfaces, Interfaces et Composants, UA/CNRS No. 040787Universitè des Sciences et des Techniques du LanguedocMontpellierFrance

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