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Performance of a Low Energy Ion Source with Carbon Nanotube Electron Emitters under the Influence of Various Operating Gases

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Zhang Huzhong, Li Detian, Wurz Peter, Etter Adrian, Cheng Yongjun, Dong Changkun, Huang Weijun,
Project Investigation of the Solar System with in situ Mass Spectrometry
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Nanomaterials
Volume (Issue) 10(2)
Page(s) 354 - 354
Title of proceedings Nanomaterials
DOI 10.3390/nano10020354

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Low energy ion measurements in the vicinity of a comet have provided us with important information about the planet’s evolution. The calibration of instruments for thermal ions in the laboratory plays a crucial role when analysing data from in-situ measurements in space. A new low energy ion source based on carbon nanotube electron emitters was developed for calibrating the ion-mode of mass spectrometers or other ion detectors. The electron field emission (FE) properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for H2, He, Ar, O2, and CO2 gases were tested in the experiments. H2, He, Ar, and CO2 adsorbates could change the FE temporarily at pressures from10−6 Pa to10−4 Pa. The FE of CNT remains stable in Ar and increases in H2, but degrades in He, O2, and CO2. All gas adsorbates lead to temporary degradation after working for prolonged periods. The ion current of the ion source is measured by using a Faraday cup and the sensitivity is derived from this measurement. The ion currents for the different gases were around 10 pA (corresponding to 200 ions/cm3 s) and an energy of ~28 eV could be observed.