Investigation of Solid State Cold Cathodes.
Final rept. 16 Mar 70-16 Mar 71,
RCA ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS PRINCETON N J ELECTRO-OPTICS LAB
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Cold cathode emission was obtained from forward biased silicon p-n junctions whose p-surfaces were activated to a state of negative electron affinity. In operation, electrons injected into the p-layer diffuse to the surface where they are emitted into vacuum. A SiSiO2 structure has been developed to overcome the problems associated with current crowding, and, with this structure, efficiencies ratio of emitted current to bias current as high as 10 have been observed. Emitted current densities as large as 225 ampssq cm and currents as large as 7 mA have been drawn under pulsed conditions while continuous current densities of 1 ampsq cm and currents of tens of microamperes have been drawn for many hours. The electrical characteristics exhibited space-charge-limited and emission-limited regimes as well as Schottky effect. Calculations made of the current density profiles across the junctions indicate that practical levels of operation can be achieved with reasonably uniform emitted current profiles. The silicon cold cathode may have advantages in applications such as vidicons where some aspects of performance are presently limited by the thermionic cathode. Author
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