Characterization of a LaB6 tip as a thermionically enhanced photoemitter

Xuefei Guo, Dipanjan Chaudhuri, Nina Bielinski, Jin Chen, Soyeun Kim, Tai C. Chiang, Fahad Mahmood, Julio A.N.T. Soares, Siddharth Karkare, Peter Abbamonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a widespread interest in time-resolved electron spectroscopies such as ultrafast electron diffraction, ultrafast electron microscopy, and ultrafast electron energy loss spectroscopy. These techniques require pulsed electron beams with both high current and brightness. LaB6 is commonly used as a thermionic emitter because of its low work function and high electron yield. However, its use as a pulsed photocathode has not been widely explored. Here, we present measurements of the electron yield from a LaB6 filament exposed to 392 nm UV ultrafast laser pulses under a wide range of filament temperatures. We find that sample heating strongly enhances photoelectron yield, an effect known as thermionically enhanced photoemission. However, it also creates potentially undesirable, continuous thermionic background. We conclude that the ideal optimal operating conditions strongly depend on the type of measurement and require defining and quantifying an appropriate figure of merit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014103
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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