Ambient organic molecular passivation of Si yields near-ideal, Schottky-Mott limited, junctions

Rotem Har-Lavan, Omer Yaffe, Pranav Joshi, Roy Kazaz, Hagai Cohen, David Cahen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We report near-perfect transfer of the electrical properties of oxide-free Si surface, modified by a molecular monolayer, to the interface of a junction made with that modified Si surface. Such behavior is highly unusual for a covalent, narrow bandgap semiconductor, such as Si. Short, ambient atmosphere, room temperature treatment of oxide-free Si(100) in hydroquinone (HQ)/alkyl alcohol solutions, fully passivates the Si surface, while allowing controlled change of the resulting surface potential. The junctions formed, upon contacting such surfaces with Hg, a metal that does not chemically interact with Si, follow the Schottky-Mott model for metal-semiconductor junctions closer than ever for Si-based junctions. Two examples of such ideal behavior are demonstrated: a) Tuning the molecular surface dipole over 400 mV, with only negligible band bending, by changing the alkyl chain length. Because of the excellent passivation this yields junctions with Hg with barrier heights that follow the change in the Si effective electron affinity nearly ideally. b) HQ/methanol passivation of Si is accompanied by a large surface dipole, which suffices, as interface dipole, to drive the Si into strong inversion as shown experimentally via its photovoltaic effect. With only ∼0.3 nm molecular interlayer between the metal and the Si, our results proves that it is passivation and prevention of metal-semiconductor interactions that allow ideal metal-semiconductor junction behavior, rather than an insulating transport barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012164
JournalAIP Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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