A low power photoemission source for electrons on liquid helium

S. Shankar, G. Sabouret, S. A. Lyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Electrons on the surface of liquid helium are a widely studied system that may also provide a promising method to implement a quantum computer. One experimental challenge in these studies is to generate electrons on the helium surface in a reliable manner without heating the cryo-system. An electron source relying on photoemission from a zinc film has been previously described using a high power continuous light source that heated the low temperature system. This work has been reproduced more compactly by using a low power pulsed lamp that avoids any heating. About 5×10 3 electrons are collected on 1 cm 2 of helium surface for every pulse of light. A time-resolved experiment suggests that electrons are either emitted over or tunnel through the 1 eV barrier formed by the thin superfluid helium film on the zinc surface. No evidence of trapping or bubble formation is seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-416
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Cryogenics
  • Electron sources
  • Liquid helium
  • Photoemission
  • Zinc


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