Anomalous Temperature Dependence in Metal-Black Phosphorus Contact

Xuefei Li, Roberto Grassi, Sichao Li, Tiaoyang Li, Xiong Xiong, Tony Low, Yanqing Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Metal-semiconductor contact has been the performance limiting problem for electronic devices and also dictates the scaling potential for future generation devices based on novel channel materials. Two-dimensional semiconductors beyond graphene, particularly few layer black phosphorus, have attracted much attention due to their exceptional electronic properties such as anisotropy and high mobility. However, due to its ultrathin body nature, few layer black phosphorus-metal contact behaves differently than conventional Schottky barrier (SB) junctions, and the mechanisms of its carrier transport across such a barrier remain elusive. In this work, we examine the transport characteristic of metal-black phosphorus contact under varying temperature. We elucidated the origin of apparent negative SB heights extracted from classical thermionic emission model and also the phenomenon of metal-insulator transition observed in the current-temperature transistor characteristic. In essence, we found that the SB height can be modulated by the back-gate voltage, which beyond a certain critical point becomes so low that the injected carrier can no longer be described by the conventional thermionic emission theory. The transition from transport dominated by a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution for the high energy tail states, to that of a Fermi distribution by low energy Fermi sea electrons, is the physical origin of the observed metal-insulator transition. We identified two distinctive tunneling limited transport regimes in the contact: vertical and longitudinal tunneling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2018


  • Black phosphorus
  • Schottky barrier
  • contact resistance
  • metallic-insulator transition

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