The current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of Sn/hydrogen-terminated p-type Si Schottky contacts have been measured in the temperature range of 150-400 K. It is shown that the occurrence of a Gaussian distribution of then BHs is responsible for the decrease of the apparent BH Phi(b0), increase of the ideality factor n and non-linearity in the activation energy plot at low temperatures. A Phi(b0) versus 1/T plot was drawn to obtain evidence of a Gaussian distribution of the BHs, and values of (&UPhi;) over bar (b0) = 1.049 eV and sigma(0) = 0.114 V for the mean B H and zero-bias standard deviation have been obtained from this plot, respectively. Then, a modified ln(I-0/T-2) - q(2)sigma(0)(2)/2k(2)T(2) versus 1/T plot gives (&UPhi;) over bar (b0) and A* as 1.026 eV and 14.60 A cm(-2) K-2, respectively. It has been concluded that the temperature dependent I-V characteristics of the device can be successfully explained on the basis of a thermionic emission mechanism with Gaussian distribution of the BHs. Furthermore, an average value of -0.247 meV K-1 for the temperature coefficient has been obtained; the value of -0.247 meV K-1 for hydrogen-terminated p-type Si differs from those in the literature due to the termination with hydrogen of the p-Si surface. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.