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Electron velocity and impact ionization?

  1. Sep 30, 2009 #1
    Hydrogen has an ionization energy of 13.6eV.

    If 1eV is defined as the velocity of an electron produced by a potential of one volt.

    Does this mean that a free electron contained in a hydrogen gas could cause impact ionization if a potential of 13.6 Volts were applied to a metal plate within the container holding the hydrogen gas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2009 #2
    Hello HMS-
    If a plate (let's call it anode) were biased by more than 13.6 volts positive relative to the electron source (call it cathode), and if the gas density were low enough (mean free path high enough) for the electrons from the cathode to gain 13.6 eV between collisions with the neutral hydrogen atoms or molecules, then you could get ionization.
    Bob S
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