Photonically excited electron emission from modified graphitic nanopetal arrays
Date of this Version5-21-2013
Efficient electron emission for energy conversion requires a low work function and a stable emitter material. The work function of graphene-based carbon materials can decrease significantly by intercalation with alkali metals, thus increasing their emission current. In this work, electron emission from potassium-intercalated carbon nanosheet extensions grown on electrode graphite is investigated. These petal-like structures, composed of 5-25 layers of graphene, are synthesized using microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition. Samples are intercalated with potassium, and a hemispherical energy analyzer is used to measure the emission intensity caused by both thermal and photonic excitation. The emission from the potassium-intercalated structures is found to consistently decrease the work function by 2.4 to 2.8 eV relative to non-intercalated samples. High emission intensity induced by photonic excitation from a solar simulator, with a narrow electron energy distribution relative to established theory, suggests that electron scattering decreases emitted electron energy as compared to surface photoemission. A modified photoemission theory is applied to account for electron scattering, and the sample work function and mean number of scattering events are used as parameters to fit theory to experimental data. The thermal stability of the intercalated nanopetals is investigated, and after an initial heating and cooling cycle, the samples are stable at low temperatures. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology