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The Johnsen–Rahbek effect
occurs when an electric potential
In classical electromagnetism, the electric potential at a point within a defined space is equal to the electric potential energy at that location divided by the charge there...
is applied across the boundary between a metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...
lic surface and the surface of a semiconducting material
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...
. Under these conditions an attractive force appears, whose magnitude depends on the voltage and the specific materials involved.
The effect is named after Danish engineers F. A. Johnsen and K. Rahbek, the first to investigate the effect at length.