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Electron Transfer at Vacuum-Metal Interface

  1. Nov 19, 2013 #1
    Hi Everyone,

    Vague Background: an electron with an energy of 0.5 eV is placed in a vacuum, near a positively charged (2 V) aluminum plate.

    Is it possible for this electron to be accepted by the plate, given its energy, despite aluminum's Fermi Level of 11.7eV?

    There are more specific details, but I don't wan't to alter someone's thought process with too specific of details.

    Also, I apologize if this is a rather simple problem; I don't have much experience in materials science.

    Kind Regards,

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2013 #2


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    The Fermi level is measured from what reference point of energy?
  4. Nov 19, 2013 #3
    Before we get into a deeper discussion, could you clarify something for me?

    From what I understand, Fermi level is the highest energy of any electrons in a metal. Since all energy states below the Fermi level are occupied, any incoming electrons must have a greater energy than the Fermi level in order to be accepted into the metal. In addition, the value Fermi level is referenced to is rather arbitrary; it is relation between Fermi levels that is important. Also, work function is the Fermi level referenced to the vacuum (I'm a little vague on this one).

    I obtained the value I referenced for the Fermi level from:

  5. Nov 20, 2013 #4


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    Yes, that's what I wanted to say. Try to find out how the Fermi energy and the Work function are related. Ashcroft Mermins book is a great source.
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