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Reduction of the ionization and scattering losses associated with ignited mode cesium diodes is essential for high thermal-to-electrical conversion efficiency. Use of an auxiliary electrode in conjuction with a noble gas in the interelectrode space should permit more efficient ion generation for space charge neutralization. The characteristics of a thermionic triode utilizing a ring electrode and a dispenser cathode emitter have been studied as a function of xenon pressure, cesium reservoir temperature, spacing, electrode temperature and pulse parameters (i.e., potential, duration and repetition rate) applied to the auxiliary electrode. Pulsed operation significantly enhanced output power with uniform discharges appearing to be sustained at emitter-collector spacings as low as 0.5 mm.