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Session Overview
Short Course: Unification of electron emission and breakdown mechanisms: Experiments and theory
Thursday, 23/June/2022:
8:00am - 12:00pm

Location: Clark Room B4

For short courses in the Marriott

Presented By: Prof. Allen Garner

Session Abstract

The course will focus on the fundamental concepts of electron emission and gas breakdown. Gas breakdown is an important failure mechanism in many directed energy, pulsed power, power modulator, and microelectromechanical systems. In other applications, such as medicine and the semiconductor industry, characterizing gas breakdown is critical for intentionally creating the plasma. Traditionally, gas breakdown is predicted by Paschen’s law, which is derived based on Townsend avalanche; however, as device size decreases to microscale at atmospheric pressure, field emission instead drives breakdown. As one continues to reduce gap distance, electron emission becomes space-charge limited and is predicted either by the Mott-Gurney law with collisions or by the Child-Langmuir law at vacuum.

This course will review the fundamental theories that predict these mechanisms at various gap distances and pressures and relates these theories to experimental results. Specific topics to be discussed include:

  • Paschen’s law
  • Transition from Paschen’s law to field emission at microscale
  • Electrode surface roughness influence on microscale gas breakdown
  • Computational extensions to describe ionization and diode geometry
  • Nexus theory between electron emission mechanisms (e.g. emission, Mott-Gurney, and Child-Langmuir, thermionic emission, photoemission, quantum Child-Langmuir).
  • Extensions of space-charge limited current calculations to non-planar geometries and multiple dimensions

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