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Field emission and field ionization in liquid 4He.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/04/1975
<mark>Journal</mark>Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A
Issue number1281
Volume278
Number of pages40
Pages (from-to)271-310
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Spacecharge limited field emission and field ionization currents in liquid 4He have been investigated for emitter potentials Vs, temperatures T, and pressures p in the ranges 0 < Vs < 3500 V, 0.3 < T < 5 K, 1 < P < 25 x 10^5 Pa, respectively. In each case, for constant p and Vs, the current i passes through a maximum at a temperature Tmax near 1.5K. For T> Tmax it is possible to account for the characteristics on the basis of a simple theory which does not require a detailed knowledge of the current generating mechanisms, and which enables values of the ionic mobilities P± to be deduced from the data. The rapid decrease in i below Tmax is ascribed to a process in which ions become trapped on quantized vortices and subsequently escape again. A model is developed to enable values of the ionic escape probabilities to be derived from the experimental results. It was found that the current becomes temperature independent below 0.4 K. The low temperature i(Vs) characteristics suggest that an effective mobility can be defined to describe ionic motion through a self generated vortex tangle. The negative ion current for T < 0.9 K showed a rapid increase with pressure for p > 106 Pa. This behaviour is ascribed to the presence of an increasing proportion of free ions travelling at the Landau velocity, owing to a decrease with p of the vortex nucleation probability nu; and a model is developed to enable values of nu to be deduced from the experimental data. The conduction mechanism below 0.7 K is discussed, but is not understood in detail. It is inferred that Vinen's F2 parameter becomes temperature independent below 0.4 K