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J Phys Condens Matter. 2012 Nov 7;24(44):445001. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/24/44/445001. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

The electronic and chemical structure of the a-B3CO0.5:Hy-to-metal interface from photoemission spectroscopy: implications for Schottky barrier heights.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO¬†64110, USA.


The electronic and chemical structure of the metal-to-semiconductor interface was studied by photoemission spectroscopy for evaporated Cr, Ti, Al and Cu overlayers on sputter-cleaned as-deposited and thermally treated thin films of amorphous hydrogenated boron carbide (a-B(x)C:H(y)) grown by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. The films were found to contain ~10% oxygen in the bulk and to have approximate bulk stoichiometries of a-B(3)CO(0.5):H(y). Measured work functions of 4.7/4.5 eV and valence band maxima to Fermi level energy gaps of 0.80/0.66 eV for the films (as-deposited/thermally treated) led to predicted Schottky barrier heights of 1.0/0.7 eV for Cr, 1.2/0.9 eV for Ti, 1.2/0.9 eV for Al, and 0.9/0.6 eV for Cu. The Cr interface was found to contain a thick partial metal oxide layer, dominated by the wide-bandgap semiconductor Cr(2)O(3), expected to lead to an increased Schottky barrier at the junction and the formation of a space-charge region in the a-B(3)CO(0.5):H (y) layer. Analysis of the Ti interface revealed a thick layer of metal oxide, comprising metallic TiO and Ti (2)O (3), expected to decrease the barrier height. A thinner, insulating Al(2)O(3) layer was observed at the Al-to-a-B(3)CO(0.5):H(y) interface, expected to lead to tunnel junction behavior. Finally, no metal oxides or other new chemical species were evident at the Cu-to-a-B(3)CO(0.5):H(y) interface in either the core level or valence band photoemission spectra, wherein characteristic metallic Cu features were observed at very thin overlayer coverages. These results highlight the importance of thin-film bulk oxygen content on the metal-to-semiconductor junction character as well as the use of Cu as a potential Ohmic contact material for amorphous hydrogenated boron carbide semiconductor devices such as high-efficiency direct-conversion solid-state neutron detectors.

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