Electron Energetics at Surfaces and Interfaces: Concepts and Experiments


  • This work was partially supported by the National Science Foundation (DMR-0097133) (AK) and by the Israel Science Foundation (DC). A. K. gratefully acknowledges support by the Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship Program of the Weizmann Institute of Science during his stay in Israel. D. C. thanks the National Science Foundation for support of a summer visiting fellowship at Princeton University.


We present a concise, although admittedly non-exhaustive, but hopefully didactic review and discussion of some of the central and basic concepts related to the energetics of surfaces and interfaces of solids. This is of particular importance for surfaces and interfaces that involve organic molecules and molecular films. It attempts to pull together different views and terminologies used in the solid state, electrochemistry, and electronic device communities, regarding key concepts of local and absolute vacuum level, surface dipole, work function, electron affinity, and ionization energy. Finally, it describes how standard techniques like photoemission spectroscopy can be used to measure such quantities.