G-H. Lee, Y-J. Yu, C. Lee, C. Dean, K. L. Shepard, P. Kim, and J. Hone, “Electron tunneling through atomically flat and ultrathin hexagonal boron nitride,” Applied Physcis Letters, 99, 243114 (2011).
Electron tunneling through atomically flat and ultrathin hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) on gold-coated mica was investigated using conductive atomic force microscopy. Low-bias direct tunneling was observed in mono-, bi-, and tri-layer h-BN. For all thicknesses, Fowler-Nordheim tunneling (FNT) occurred at high bias, showing an increase of breakdown voltage with thickness. Based on the FNT model, the barrier height for tunneling (3.07 eV) and dielectric strength (7.94 MV/cm) of h-BN are obtained; these values are comparable to those of SiO2.