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Title: Low work-function thermionic emission and orbital-motion-limited ion collection at bare-tether cathodic contact

With a thin coating of low-work-function material, thermionic emission in the cathodic segment of bare tethers might be much greater than orbital-motion-limited (OML) ion collection current. The space charge of the emitted electrons decreases the electric field that accelerates them outwards, and could even reverse it for high enough emission, producing a potential hollow. In this work, at the conditions of high bias and relatively low emission that make the potential monotonic, an asymptotic analysis is carried out, extending the OML ion-collection analysis to investigate the probe response due to electrons emitted by the negatively biased cylindrical probe. At given emission, the space charge effect from emitted electrons increases with decreasing magnitude of negative probe bias. Although emitted electrons present negligible space charge far away from the probe, their effect cannot be neglected in the global analysis for the sheath structure and two thin layers in between sheath and the quasineutral region. The space-charge-limited condition is located. It is found that thermionic emission increases the range of probe radius for OML validity and is greatly more effective than ion collection for cathodic contact of tethers.
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Departamento de Física Aplicada, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Aeronáutica y del Espacio, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Plaza Cardenal Cisneros, 3, 28040 Madrid (Spain)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22410348
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ASYMPTOTIC SOLUTIONS; CURRENTS; CYLINDRICAL CONFIGURATION; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ELECTRON EMISSION; IONS; PLASMA SHEATH; PROBES; SPACE CHARGE; THERMIONIC EMISSION; THIN FILMS; WORK FUNCTIONS