Thermally stimulated electron emission from charged dielectric surfaces

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Electron emission from charged surfaces of spontaneously polarized dielectrics has been observed. TGS, a non-linear dielectric-ferroelectric crystal and the linear pyroelectrics lithium sulphate monohydrate and resorcinol have been studied. An electret state is formed at the free surface under the unscreened pyroelectric field. A subsequent thermally activated relaxation process of the electret charge gives rise to the electron emission which can be considered as an electret discharge current into vacuum. It is shown that, for TGS crystals, electron emission in the nonpolar, paraelectric phase occurs due to a space-charge electret effect. A dipole electret polarization formed by reoriented dipolar water molecules in lithium sulphate monohydrate is also sufficient to produce electron emission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-473
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1992


  • Electron emission
  • electret state
  • ferroelectrics
  • linear pyroelectrics


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