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Issue 34, 2013
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Microbead-separated thermionic energy converter with enhanced emission current

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Abstract

The efficiency of thermionic energy converters is a strong function of the inter-electrode separation due to space-charge limitations. Here we demonstrate vacuum thermionic energy converters constructed using barium dispenser cathodes and thin film tungsten anodes, separated by size specific alumina microbeads for simple device fabrication and inter-electrode gap control. The current and device efficiency at the maximum power point are strongly dependent on the inter-electrode gap, with a maximum device efficiency of 0.61% observed for a gap on the order of 5 μm. Paths to further reductions in space charge and improved anode work function are outlined with potential for over an order of magnitude improvement in output power and efficiency.

Graphical abstract: Microbead-separated thermionic energy converter with enhanced emission current

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Jul 2013, accepted on 12 Jul 2013 and first published on 16 Jul 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3CP52895B
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013,15, 14442-14446
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    Microbead-separated thermionic energy converter with enhanced emission current

    K. A. Littau, K. Sahasrabuddhe, D. Barfield, H. Yuan, Z. Shen, R. T. Howe and N. A. Melosh, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 14442
    DOI: 10.1039/C3CP52895B

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