The semiconductor-metal transition of vanadium dioxide (VO2) thin films epitaxially grown on C-plane sapphire is studied by depositing Au nanoparticles onto the thermochromic films forming a metal-semiconductor contact, namely, a nano-Au-VO2 junction. It reveals that Au nanoparticles have a marked effect on the reduction in the phase transition temperature of VO2. A process of electron injection in which electrons flow from Au to VO2 due to the lower work function of the metal is believed to be the mechanism. The result may support the Mott-Hubbard phase transition model for VO2.
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