Schottky barrier diode
Nordman, James E. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A metal-semiconductor diode (two terminal electrical device) that exhibits a very nonlinear relation between voltage across it and current through it; formally known as a metallic disk rectifier. Original metallic disk rectifiers used selenium of copper oxide as the semiconductor coated on a metal disk. Today, the semiconductor is usually single-crystal silicon with two separate thin metal layers deposited on it to form electrical contacts. One of the two layers is made of a metal which forms a Schottky barrier to the silicon. The other forms a very low resistance, so-called ohmic, contact. The Schottky barrier is an electron or hole barrier caused by an electric dipole charge distribution associated with the contact potential difference which forms between a metal and a semiconductor under equilibrium conditions. The barrier is very abrupt at the surface of the metal because the charge is primarily on the surface. However, in the semiconductor, the charge is distributed over a small distance, and the potential gradually varies across this distance (see illustration). See also: Contact potential difference
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