Local investigation of the emissive properties of LaB6–ZrB2 eutectics
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LaB6–ZrB2 composites obtained by directional solidification at eutectic composition have been investigated by low-energy electron microscopy (LEEM) and thermal emission electron microscopy (ThEEM). The transitions from the mirror electron microscopy mode to the LEEM mode for the hexa- and diborides indicate lower work functions of the two phases when embedded in the composite compared to the corresponding single phases. In the composite, the work function of the ZrB2 fibers is similar to that of the matrix and ThEEM images display a brighter contrast for the fibers. This is explained by the thermally activated diffusion of La on the fiber surface.
M. H. Berger and T. C. Back would like to acknowledge support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). TC Back would also like to acknowledge Prof. Martin Kordesch for useful discussions.
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