Modification of properties of metal films caused by indents on their surface are studied. It is shown that indents on a film surface lead to quantum state depression (QSD), i.e., a decrease in the density of quantum states of a free electron. The density of the wave vector in the k-space decreases throughout the Fermi sphere. At the same time, the total number of electrons is conserved, since the metal remains electrically neutral. According to the Pauli Exclusion Principle, some electrons will occupy states with higher wave numbers. The Fermi vector and the Fermi energy of the thin metal films increase and, therefore, the work function decreases. Experiments have demonstrated a decrease in the work function of the thin indented films of Au, Nb, Cr, and SiO2. Experimental results are qualitatively consistent with the theoretical predictions.
Russian Microelectronics – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 15, 2009
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