Maximum in the curve covering two regions of potential energy, eg at the surface of a metal, where there are no external nuclei to balance the effect of those just inside the surface. Passage of a charged particle across the boundary should be prevented unless it has energy greater than that corresponding to the barrier. Wave-mechanical considerations, however, indicate that there is a definite probability for a particle with less energy to pass through the barrier, a process known as tunnelling. Also potential hill. Cf potential well,

Link to This Definition

Did you find this definition of POTENTIAL BARRIER helpful? You can share it by copying the code below and adding it to your blog or web page.
Edited and fact checked by Pam: Google +