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Issue 1, 2016
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Fermi level, work function and vacuum level

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Electronic levels and energies of a solid, such as Fermi level, vacuum level, work function, ionization energy or electron affinity, are of paramount importance for the control of device behavior, charge carrier injection and transport. These levels and quantities, however, depend sensitively on the structure and surface morphology and chemical composition of the solid. A small amount of contaminants on a metal surface, or a shift in molecular orientation at the surface of an organic semiconductor, can change work function and vacuum level position by a large fraction of an electron-volt, and significantly impact the electronic structure of interfaces. The goal of this brief focus article is to provide definitions of key concepts and review simple mechanisms that affect these fundamental quantities.

Graphical abstract: Fermi level, work function and vacuum level

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The article was received on 03 Aug 2015, accepted on 08 Oct 2015 and first published on 13 Oct 2015

Article type: Focus
DOI: 10.1039/C5MH00160A
Citation: Mater. Horiz., 2016,3, 7-10
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    Fermi level, work function and vacuum level

    A. Kahn, Mater. Horiz., 2016, 3, 7
    DOI: 10.1039/C5MH00160A

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