Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Physics

Committee Chair

Gary Zank

Committee Member

James A. Miller

Committee Member

John D. Fix

Subject(s)

Electron beams., Ion sources., Light emitting diodes., Photoelectronic devices.

Abstract

Recent advances in light emitting diode (LED) technology have facilitated a potential remedy to the problems plaguing filament based electron sources. Using spaceworthy LEDs, the photoelectron cathode and its progenitor the ultraviolet cathode (UVC) take advantage of the photoelectric effect to produce electrons for space based experiments. To produce these devices, two species of LED, each producing either ultraviolet or visible radiation, were collected and tested to determine potential photocurrent output. Additionally, materials with requisite photoemission characteristics were collected and tested in vacuum with the LEDs to assess their usefulness as photoelectron sources. Furthermore, circuitry and computer software was compiled, tested, and refined to control the experimental and custodial duties of the UVC and photoelectron cathode while deployed as an electron source in space.

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