Thin film metal-insulator-metal junctions are used in a novel approach to investigate the dissipation of potential energy of multiply charged ions impinging on a polycrystalline metal surface. The ion-metal interaction leads to excited electrons and holes within the top layer. A substantial fraction of these charge carriers is transported inwards and can be measured as an internal current in the thin film tunnel junction. In Ag-AlOX-Al junctions, yields of typically 0.1-1 electrons per impinging ion are detected in the bottom Al layer. The separate effects of potential and kinetic energy on the tunneling yield are investigated by varying the charges state of the Ar projectile ions from 2+ to 9+ for kinetic energies in the range from 1 to 12 keV. The tunneling yield is found to scale linearly with the potential energy of the projectile.