Secondary electron emission from lithium and lithium compounds

A. M. Capece, M. I. Patino, Y. Raitses, B. E. Koel

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9 Scopus citations


In this work, measurements of electron-induced secondary electron emission (SEE) yields of lithium as a function of composition are presented. The results are particularly relevant for magnetic fusion devices such as tokamaks, field-reversed configurations, and stellarators that consider Li as a plasma-facing material for improved plasma confinement. SEE can reduce the sheath potential at the wall and cool electrons at the plasma edge, resulting in large power losses. These effects become significant as the SEE coefficient, γe, approaches one, making it imperative to maintain a low yield surface. This work demonstrates that the yield from Li strongly depends on chemical composition and substantially increases after exposure to oxygen and water vapor. The total yield was measured using a retarding field analyzer in ultrahigh vacuum for primary electron energies of 20-600 eV. The effect of Li composition was determined by introducing controlled amounts of O2 and H2O vapor while monitoring film composition with Auger electron spectroscopy and temperature programmed desorption. The results show that the energy at which γe = 1 decreases with oxygen content and is 145 eV for a Li film that is 17% oxidized and drops to less than 25 eV for a fully oxidized film. This work has important implications for laboratory plasmas operating under realistic vacuum conditions in which oxidation significantly alters the electron emission properties of Li walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011605
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 4 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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