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Energy to remove electrons from a conductor

  1. Oct 30, 2008 #1
    Hello All,

    I am wondering how to calculate the electric field intensity needed to rip an electron from the conduction shel of a copper wire. I am not sure exactly where to look for this information but I know it is related to something like a cold-cathode effect where HV is used to pull electrons from electrodes rather than heat like a hot cathode.

    To give you an idea of what I am thinking, if one has a short length of copper wire, say 14 gauge with a smaller coil wrapped around it of many turns, and then a high votage pulse was injected into the coil of wire, what electric field strength would this coil have to produce to give the electrons in the center copper wire enough energy to jump from the conduction band to a higher energy state?

    The reason I am asking this is because I am interested in studying convection currents, and am trying to see if it is possible to create a convection current-like effect using conductors. I know that this cannot normally occur when the free electrons of the conductor are flowing on the surface of the wire because of resistance in the material lattice. My hypotheses is that if the conduction electrons could be raised to a high enough energy level that they form a cloud around the conductor much like a cold cathode, and perhaps they could exhibit the properties of a convection current for as long as they remain in the higher energy state. Any thoughts or comments appreciated.

    Jason O
  2. jcsd
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