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Identifying Proper Photocathode Material

  1. Jul 30, 2011 #1
    I'm not certain if the General Physics section of this forum is the place where this question will receive any attention, but here's to hoping!

    I am trying to identify a way in which one could accurately calculate which compound or element would serve as the ideally effective material for a photocathode, in terms of current produced. To avoid any referrals to another website, I already understand which materials are commonly used in many modern phototubes. What I am curious about is if there is a common and consistent method through which one could identify other materials that could be potentially used for attaining sensitivity to a particular range of wavelengths.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2011 #2


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    Your question is a bit vague, because there is no one single material that can satisfy all needs for all applications.

    One start by looking at a typical emission sensitivity over a range of wavelengths for a particular photocathode. That is usually the starting point. Later on, one looks at the ease of growth, lifetime, etc. for that material.

    Now, if you're asking if there is a way to determine if a NEW material, or a material that hasn't been considered yet as a photocathode material that could be a suitable photocathode, then that's a different and more difficult beast to answer. While there are theoretical models that can give hints about the suitability of the material (i.e. work function, band gaps, bend bending, etc.), without actually doing a spectrum measurement on a particular material, there aren't that many definitive ways to do such determination.

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