Applied physics

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 365–375 | Cite as

On the mechanism of liquid metal electron and ion sources

  • R. Gomer
Invited Paper


The mechanisms of electron and ion generation from Taylor cones of liquid metals are discussed. In the case of electron emission the vacuum arcing mechanism of Swanson and Schwind, which accounts for the observed high current repetitive pulsing is briefly reviewed. For ion emission mechanisms from onset to the high current regime are proposed. It is concluded that at onset ions are generated exclusively by field desorption. A theory to account for the observed emitter heating is advanced, and it is concluded that high currents result from field ionization of thermally evaporated atoms. It is shown that space charge becomes important even at very low ion currents and'is instrumental in providing stabilization in all regimes of ion emission.


82.65 79.40 68.70 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Gomer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The James Franck InstituteThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.The Department of ChemistryThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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