Dynamic Polarization Effects in Tunneling

  • P. Guéret
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 231)


Tunneling is a pure quantum-mechanical effect which allows particles to traverse potential barriers, in spite of not having sufficient energy to do so. It is fundamental to most transport and conduction processes. Particles (electrons) are seldom truly free. They are more often than not embedded within non-uniform potentials which constrain their motion. Even the so-called “free” electrons in the allowed bands of a solid are in fact (resonantly) tunneling through the periodic potential of the lattice ions. The simplicity of this phenomenon, as described in elementary textbooks on quantum mechanics, is deceiving. In reality, experimental situations involving tunneling are generally complicated by several (sometimes sizeable) side effects which may make a quantitative comparison with theoretical models difficult. Entire books (Duke, 1969; Wolf, 1985) have been devoted to tunneling-related issues, many of which are still unresolved or controversial, and still awaiting for unequivocal experimental confirmation.


Barrier Height Tunnel Barrier Barrier Thickness Tunnel Conductance Tunneling Time 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Guéret
    • 1
  1. 1.IBM Research DivisionZurich Research LaboratoryRüschlikonSwitzerland

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