EXPLORATORY ENERGY CONVERSION STUDY OF PHOTON THERMIONICS.
GENERAL ELECTRIC CO SCHENECTADY N Y
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This study was initiated to determine whether phrocesses could increase thermionic con verter performance. A converter designed specif ically for use on this program was fabricated with a wire grid collector placed in grooves of a sapphire window and located opposite a planar emitter. This converter was tested with five different radiation sources, each with a partic ular spectral characteristic. The only source that produced an effect on the converter opera tion was a 200-watt-second xenon flash lamp. This lamp produced a 20 increase in the short circuit current with the converter operating in the ion rich region, and at least an order of magnitude change in short circuit current in the electron rich region. In this latter region, the current was still somewhat space charge limited even with the radiation. One-third of the observed effect was due to 0.8 watt cm to minus 2 power of the first resonance radiation, while one-quarter of the observed effect was due to one watt cm to minus 2 power of near ultra-violet. It appears that photon enhanced converters are possible, but it remains to be demonstrated whether the increase in performance will be offset by the complexity of such a converter. Author