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In this paper, the evolution of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) capacitor leakage current mechanism as a function of dielectric thickness has been investigated. It has been pointed out that PZT leakage current switches from Schottky to Poole–Frenkel conduction mechanisms as PZT thickness decreases. The leakage current evolution seems to be dependant on the presence of a dead layer at metal/PZT interface. The dead layer thickness is estimated at about 40 nm. The switch from an interface limited conduction mode to a bulk limited mode can be attributed to the presence of a higher defect concentration in the dead layer in comparison with PZT bulk.