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Metal-oxide-junction, triple point cathodes in a relativistic magnetron

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4 Author(s)
Jordan, N.M. ; Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory, Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA ; Gilgenbach, R.M. ; Hoff, B.W. ; Lau, Y.Y.

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Triple point, defined as the junction of metal, dielectric, and vacuum, is the location where electron emission is favored in the presence of a sufficiently strong electric field. To exploit triple point emission, metal-oxide-junction (MOJ) cathodes consisting of dielectric “islands” over stainless steel substrates have been fabricated. The two dielectrics used are hafnium oxide (HfOx) for its high dielectric constant and magnesium oxide (MgO) for its high secondary electron emission coefficient. The coatings are deposited by ablation-plasma-ion lithography using a KrF laser (0–600 mJ at 248 nm) and fluence ranging from 3 to 40 J/cm2. Composition and morphology of deposited films are analyzed by scanning electron microscopy coupled with x-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy, as well as x-ray diffraction. Cathodes are tested on the Michigan Electron Long-Beam Accelerator with a relativistic magnetron, at parameters V=-300 kV, I=1–15 kA, and pulse lengths of 0.3–0.5 μs. Six variations of the MOJ cathode are tested, and are compared against five baseline cases. It is found that particulate formed during the ablation process improves the electron emission properties of the cathodes by forming additional triple points. Due to extensive electron back bombardment during magnetron operation, secondary electron emission also may play a significant role. Cathodes exhibit increases in current densities of up to 80 A/cm2, and up to 15% improvement in curre- nt start up time, as compared to polished stainless steel cathodes.

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Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:79 ,  Issue: 6 )