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Surface potential

  1. Apr 12, 2007 #1
    :rolleyes: surface potential is defined as the electrostatic potential energy of a surface confined charges. By Kelvin probe microscope, the the surface potential can be measured and the variation from negative to positive can be seen at different region on the interface.
    My question is: is it correct to say that the area with negative surface potential has already confined certain amount of electrons whereas the holes has been confined in some areas with positive surface potential?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2007 #2

    Kelvin Probe Microscopes measure the "work function" of a materials surface. There are two ways (yielding two different resolutions, but lets forget about the tunneling method) to measure the work function of a surface: The lower resolution, phenomenologically classical method relies on the electrons overcoming the work function of a surface prior to conducting to the probe. The work function of a material will change with inhomogeneities in the material (different phases etc..). So back to your question. Remember that potentials are relative quantities. There isn't a "positive region" just a region where the work function is higher than the surrounding regions.
    Hope this helps.

  4. Apr 12, 2007 #3
    Hi Modey 3: thank you for the answer.

    For hole transport semiconductors, is that correct to say free holes travelling at interface will be easily trapped in the area with relatively higher workfunction ( also shows a relatively higher surface potential)?
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