Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 61 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Vincent P LaBella

Committee Members

Bradley L Thiel, Richard J Matyi, Alain C Diebold, James B Hannon


Attenuation, Hot Electron, Interface Band Structure, Parallel momentum conservation, Scattering, Nanostructured materials, Electron transport, Energy-band theory of solids

Subject Categories

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


Knowledge of electron transport through materials and interfaces is fundamentally and technologically important. For example, metal interconnects within integrated circuits suffer increasingly from electromigration and signal delay due to an increase in resistance from grain boundary and sidewall scattering since their dimensions are becoming shorter than the electron mean free path. Additionally, all semiconductor based devices require the transport of electrons through materials and interfaces where scattering and parallel momentum conservation are important. In this thesis, the inelastic and elastic scattering of hot electrons are studied in nanometer thick copper, silver and gold films deposited on silicon substrates. Hot electrons are electron with energy greater than kBT above the Fermi level (EF). This work was performed utilizing ballistic electron emission microscopy (BEEM) which is a three terminal scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) technique that measures the percentage of hot electrons transmitted across a Schottky barrier interface. Hot electron attenuation lengths of the metals were extracted by measuring the BEEM current as a function of metal overlayer thickness for both hot electron and hot hole injection at 80 K and under ultra high vacuum. The inelastic and elastic scattering lengths were extracted by fitting the energetic dependence of the measured attenuation lengths to a Fermi liquid based model. A sharp increase in the attenuation length is observed at low injection energies, just above the Schottky barrier height, only for metals on Si(001) substrates. In contrast, the attenuation length measured on Si(111) substrates shows a sharp decrease. These results indicate that interface band structure and parallel momentum conservation have significant impact upon the transport of hot electrons across non epitaxial metal-semiconductor interfaces. In addition, they help to separate effects upon hot electron transport that are inherent to the metal film from those associated with the interface and it's band structure.