Thermal runaway of metal nano-tips during intense electron emission

  title={Thermal runaway of metal nano-tips during intense electron emission},
  author={Andreas Kyritsakis and Mihkel Veske and Kristjan Eimre and Vahur Zadin and Flyura Djurabekova},
  journal={arXiv: Materials Science},
When an electron emitting tip is subjected to very high electric fields, plasma forms even under ultra high vacuum conditions. This phenomenon, known as vacuum arc, causes catastrophic surface modifications and constitutes a major limiting factor not only for modern electron sources, but also for many large-scale applications such as particle accelerators, fusion reactors etc. Although vacuum arcs have been studied thoroughly, the physical mechanisms that lead from intense electron emission to… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Field electron emission induced glow discharge in a nanodiamond vacuum diode
The present letter extends the prior findings on self-induced heating of solid state field emission devices. It was found that a vacuum diode (base pressure $\sim10^{-9}$ Torr), that makes use of
Why the Electron Energy Balance During the Thermo-Field Emission From Refractory Metal Micro-Protrusions Can Trigger a Thermal Instability ?
The electron emission by micro-protrusions has been studied for over a century, but the complete explanation of the unstable behaviors and their origin remains an open issue. These systems often
Electric Field Enhancing Artifacts as Precursors for Vacuum High-Voltage Breakdown
Abrupt formation of plasma in a high-voltage insulating vacuum gap and subsequent discharge of electrodes limits the reliability of a class of vacuum electronic devices, such as X-ray tubes. It has
Effect of space charge on vacuum pre-breakdown voltage and electron emission current
The recent developments in nanosecond pulsed power supplies facilitate the emission of high density electron bursts but their safe operation demands avoiding breakdowns. Using the theoretical and
Unveiling the Nottingham Inversion Instability during the thermo-field emission from refractory metal micro-protrusions
The whole phenomenon, that the authors propose to call the Nottingham Inversion Instability, can explain unexpected thermal failures and breakdowns observed with field emitters.
Thermal effects in field electron emission from idealized arrangements of independent and interacting micro-protrusions
Modelling studies of thermo-field electron emission (TFE) from protrusions at a cathode surface usually use simulations in 2D axial symmetry. Indeed, time-dependent simulations in 3D are very
Mechanism of Spontaneous Surface Modifications on Polycrystalline Cu Due to Electric Fields
This paper conducts molecular dynamics simulations of nanocrystalline copper surfaces and shows the possibility of protrusion growth under the stress exerted on the surface by an applied electrostatic field, and establishes a linear relationship between the necessary electrostatic stress for protrusion formation and the temperature of the system.
Direct observation of vacuum arc evolution with nanosecond resolution
It is shown evidently that the anode illumination is weaker and plays a minor role in igniting and maintaining the conductive channel, and both the nanosecond-resolution images of vacuum arc evolution and the corresponding theoretical calculations agree that the Conductive channel between the electrodes is built in the form of cathodic plasma long before any significant activity develops in the anodes.
Molecular dynamics simulations of thermal evaporation and critical electric field of copper nanotips
Due to the miniaturization of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and molecular devices, the problem of vacuum insulation becomes more and more prominent. The
Spectroscopic study of vacuum arc plasma expansion
Vacuum breakdown (also known as arc or discharge) occurs when a sufficiently high electric field is applied between two electrodes in vacuum. The discharge is driven by the formation of an


Application of the general thermal field model to simulate the behaviour of nanoscale Cu field emitters
Strong field electron emission from a nanoscale tip can cause a temperature rise at the tip apex due to Joule heating. This becomes particularly important when the current value grows rapidly, as in
From Field Emission to Vacuum Arc Ignition: A New Tool for Simulating Copper Vacuum Arcs
Understanding plasma initiation in vacuum arc discharges can help to bridge the gap between nano-scale triggering phenomena and the macroscopic surface damage caused by vacuum arcs. We present a new
Long-term stability of Cu surface nanotips.
The proposed KMC model has been found to be well-suited for simulating atomic surface processes and was validated against molecular dynamics simulation results via the comparison of the flattening times obtained by both methods.
A One‐Dimensional Particle‐in‐Cell Model of Plasma Build‐Up in Vacuum Arcs
Understanding the mechanism of plasma build-up in vacuum arcs is essential in many fields of physics. A onedimensional particle-in-cell computer simulation model is presented, which models the plasma
Electrical breakdown between clean metal electrodes in high vacuum was observed when the field current density at the single crystal tungsten cathode exceeded a critical value of the order of
Electronic processes in molecular dynamics simulations of nanoscale metal tips under electric fields
Electronic effects play a crucial role in the temperature evolution of metal parts which have electric currents running through them. The increase in temperature due to resistive heating can cause
Field Emission: Large Current Densities, Space Charge, and the Vacuum Arc
Field emission was obtained from a single crystal tungsten emitter under conditions of very high vacuum and clean surfaces. The geometry of the emitter was determined by electron microscopy
Electrodynamics - molecular dynamics simulations of the stability of Cu nanotips under high electric field
The shape memory effect and pseudoelasticity in Cu nanowires is one possible pair of mechanisms that prevents high aspect ratio nanosized field electron emitters to be stable at room temperature and
Ectons and their role in plasma processes
The so-called explosive electron emission observed as individual packets or avalanches of electrons is shown to occur on microexplosions at the cathode. This avalanche of electrons is called an
Electron Emission in Intense Electric Fields
1. Introduction .—The main features of the phenomenon of the extraction of electrons from cold metals by intense electric fields are well known, and an approximate theory of the effect was first