Journal Of Applied Physics
Emerging interest in utilizing the transverse coherence properties of thermal energy atomic and molecular beams motivates the development of ionization detectors with near unit detection efficiency and adequate spatial resolution to resolve interference fringes of submicron dimension. We demonstrate that a field ionization tip coupled to a charged particle detector meets these requirements. We have systematically studied the current-voltage relationship for field ionization of helium using tungsten tips in diffuse gas and in a supersonic helium beam. For all 16 tips used in this study, the dependence of ion current on voltage for tips of fixed radius was found to differ from that for tips held at constant surface electric field. A scaling analysis is presented to explain this difference. Ion current increased on average to the 2.8 power of voltage for a tip at fixed field and approximately fifth power of voltage for fixed radius for a liquid nitrogen cooled tip in room temperature helium gas. For the helium beam, ion current increased as 2.2 power of voltage with constant surface field. The capture region of the tips was found to be up to 0.1 mu m(2) for diffuse gas and 0.02 mu m(2) in the beam. Velocity dependence and orientation of tip to beam were also studied.
Deponte, D. P., Gregory S. Elliott, and S. D. Kevan. 2009. "Current-voltage relation for a field ionizing He beam detector." Journal Of Applied Physics 105(4): 044910-044910.