Contact potential difference
Nordman, James E. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
- Additional Readings
An electrostatic potential that exists between samples of two dissimilar electrically conductive materials (metals or semiconductors with different electron work functions) that have been brought into thermal equilibrium with each other, usually through a physical contact. Although normally measured between two surfaces which are not in contact, this potential is called the contact potential difference. Its origin can be described in terms of the process necessary to bring the samples into equilibrium. Initially it is expected that mobile charge carriers (electrons or holes) will migrate from one sample to the other. If there is a net flow of electrons from material A to material B (see illustration), material B will become negatively charged and material A will become positively charged, assuming that they were originally neutral. This process is self limiting because a potential difference between the two samples will develop due to the charge separation and will grow to a value sufficient to stop further motion of the electrons from A to B.
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 42 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information