Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




J.R. Dennison


The question of whether the small bandgaps of semiconductors play a significant role in their secondary electron emission properties is investigated by studying evaporated graphitic amorphous carbon, which has a roughly 0.5 eV bandgap, in comparison with microcrystalline graphite, which has zero bandgap. The graphitic amorphous carbon is found to have a 30% increase in its maximum secondary electron yield over that of two microcrystalline graphite samples with comparable secondary electron yields: highly oriented pyrolytic graphite and colloidal graphite. The potentially confounding influence of the vacuum level has been isolated through the measurement of the photoelectron onset energy of the materials. Other less significant materials parameters are also isolated and discussed. Based on these measurements, it is concluded the magnitude of bandgap may have an appreciable effect on the magnitude of the secondary electron yield and further studies of this effect with annealed graphitic amorphous carbon are warranted. In support of this work, a hemispherical two-grid, retarding field electron energy analyzer has been designed, constructed, and characterized for the present work. The advantages and disadvantages of the analyzer are discussed in comparison to other methods of measuring secondary electron emission. The analyzer has a resolution of ±(1.5 eV + 4% of the incident electron energy). A novel effort to derive theoretical, absolute correction factors that compensate for electron losses within the analyzer, mainly due to the grid transmission, is presented. The corrected secondary electron yield of polycrystalline gold is found to be 30% above comparable experimental studies. The corrected backscattered electron yield of polycrystalline gold is found to be 14% above comparable experimental studies. Corrected secondary yields for the microcrystalline graphite samples are found to range from 35-70% above those found in five experimental studies in the literature. The theoretical correction factors are estimated to have a 4-6% uncertainty. Reasons for the large discrepancy in yield measurements with the analyzer are discussed and thought to be due mainly to the lack of similar corrective factors in the previous studies. The supporting instrumentation is fully characterized, including a detailed error analysis.

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