Results from studies of a low-current glow discharge with a hollow cathode are presented. A specific feature of the discharge conditions was that a highly emissive tablet containing cesium carbonate was placed in the cathode cavity. In the absence of a tablet, the discharge ignition voltage was typically ≥3.5 kV, while the burning voltage was in the range of 500–600 V. The use of the tablet made it possible to decrease the ignition voltage to 280 V and maintain the discharge burning voltage at a level of about 130 V. A model of the current sustainment in a hollow-cathode discharge is proposed. Instead of the conventional secondary emission yield, the model uses a generalized emission yield that takes into account not only ion bombardment of the cathode, but also the emission current from an external source. The model is used to interpret the observed current−voltage characteristics. The results of calculations agree well with the experimental data. It is shown that, in some discharge modes, the external emission current from the cathode can reach 25% of the total discharge current.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)