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Measurements of cathode fall characteristics and of the influence of the cathode fall on the discharge properties of an electron beam ionized discharge (EBD) are reported. Gases investigated included methane, nitrogen, and argon. The cathode fall voltage was found to be a function of discharge current, voltage, gas type and pressure, and the rate of external ionization. At low discharge voltages, the cathode sheath region was found to require microseconds to get established. Added attaching gases had little influence on the cathode fall. Extrapolating to high rates of external ionization, the cathode fall voltage still can be expected to be hundreds of volts for the gases investigated.
Date of Publication: Sept. 1984