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Photoemission is widely used to generate electron beams with an energy spread lower than by thermoemission. However, when a photocathode is illuminated by a multimode laser this feature is lost and an electron beam with several eV of energy spread is produced. We have developed an explanation for this anomalous behavior pointing out its origin in the combined effect of charge relaxation, taking place within the beam, together with the modulation of the laser power imposed by laser modes. The model permits a correct interpretation overall experimental evidences. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.
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