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,
What is POTENTIAL BARRIER?
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