The fabrication and electrical characterization of Schottky junction diodes have been extensively researched for three-quarters of a century since the original work of Schottky in 1938. This study breaks from the highly standardized regime of such research and provides an alternative methodology that prompts novel, more efficient applications of the adroit Schottky junction in areas such as chemical and thermal sensing. The core departure from standard Schottky diode configuration is that the metal electrode is of comparable or higher resistance than the underlying semiconductor. Further, complete electrical characterization is accomplished through recording four-probe resistance-temperature (R-D-T) characteristics of the device, where electrical sourcing and sensing is done only via the metal electrode and not directly through the semiconductor. Importantly, this results in probing a nominally unbiased junction while eliminating the need for an Ohmic contact to the semiconductor. The characteristic R-D-T plot shows two distinct regions of high (metal) and low (semiconductor) resistances at low and high temperatures, respectively, connected by a crossover region of width, DT, within which there is a large negative temperature coefficient of resistance. The R-D-T characteristic is highly sensitive to the Schottky barrier height; consequently, at a fixed temperature, R-D responds appreciably to small changes in barrier height such as that induced by absorption of a chemical species (e.g., H-2) at the interface. A theoretical model is developed to simulate the R-D-T data and applied to Pd/p-Si and Pt/p-Si Schottky diodes with a range of metal electrode resistance. The analysis gives near-perfect fits to the experimental R-D-T characteristics, yielding the junction properties as fit parameters. The modelling not only helps elucidate the underlying physics but also helps to comprehend the parameter space essential for the discussed applications. Although the primary regime of application is limited to a relatively narrow range (DT) for a given type of diode, the alternative methodology is of universal applicability to all metal-semiconductor combinations forming Schottky contacts. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.
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