Dekker, Adrianus J. Solid State Physics Laboratory, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Last reviewed:June 2020
- Richardson-Dushman equation
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The emission of electrons into vacuum by a heated electronic conductor. In its broadest meaning, thermionic emission includes the emission of ions, but since this process is quite different from that normally understood by the term, it will not be discussed here. Thermionic emitters are used as cathodes in electron tubes and hence are of great technical and scientific importance. Although in principle all conductors are thermionic emitters, only a few materials satisfy the requirements set by practical applications. Of the metals, tungsten is an important practical thermionic emitter; in most electron tubes, however, the oxide-coated cathode is used to great advantage.
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