We report on the current transport mechanisms dominant at the Schottky interface of metal–semiconductor–metal photodetectors fabricated on single-crystal GaN, with active layers of 1.5 and 4.0 μm thickness. We have modeled transport in the 1.5 μm devices using thermionic emission theory, and in the 4.0 μm devices using thermionic field emission theory. We have obtained a good fit to the experimental data. We hypothesize that traps in the GaN are related to a combination of surface defects (possibly threading dislocations), and deep-level bulk states that are within a tunneling distance of the interface. A simple qualitative model is presented. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.