, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 189-199

Photon-assisted tunneling versus tunneling of excited electrons in metal–insulator–metal junctions

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Photocurrent measurements in Ag–Al2O3–Al metal–insulator–metal junctions under illumination with ultra-short laser pulses reveal that tunneling and internal photoemission of excited electrons are the dominating transport mechanisms. Photon-assisted tunneling is observed under rare conditions that depend critically on the preparation of the interface. The comparison of time-resolved two-pulse correlation measurements with model calculations shows that the photon-induced transport of excited electrons is well described using a one-dimensional many-particle model for two coupled metallic leads, whereas a single-particle model for nonresonant excitation in a rectangular double-minimum potential reveals the signature of photon-assisted tunneling.


73.40.-c; 72.10.-d; 73.40.Gk; 73.50.Pz