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A new technique determined the J‐E characteristics of silicon dioxide grown from polycrystalline silicon with greatly improved sensitivity. More importantly, the current density was measured over a 10‐decade range without the problem of current drift or uncertainty about the field at the cathode surface due to charge trapping in the oxide. The apparent barrier height decreased with increasing electric field as if the barrier lowering was due to field enhancement at surface asperities of about 500 Å in size. The technique is applicable to other dielectrics where charge trapping presents difficulties to J‐E measurements.