A. Boyarski

"Model of high current breakdown from cathode field emission in aged wire chambers"

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Observing single electron pulses provides insight into the mechanism that leads to sudden high current jumps (breakdown) in aged wire chambers. This single electron activity is found to be consistent with the Fowler-Nordheim equation for field emission of electrons from a cathode surface in a high electric field. The high electric field arises from the positive ion buildup on a very thin insulating layer on the cathode surface. A model is presented to explain the transient behavior of single electron pulses in response to abrupt changes in chamber ionization, as well as the steady state rate during a long term aging run. The model is based on properties of the insulating layer (dielectric constant, conductivity, and hole-mobility) as well as the Fowler-Nordheim equation.

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Last modified: 5 April 2004, J. Schwiening.