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Publication numberUS3854066 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 10, 1974
Filing dateNov 21, 1973
Priority dateNov 21, 1973
Publication numberUS 3854066 A, US 3854066A, US-A-3854066, US3854066 A, US3854066A
InventorsPayne W
Original AssigneeUs Army
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electron device incorporating a microchannel secondary emitter
US 3854066 A
An electron device incorporating a microchannel plate as a secondary emission electron source which in addition to the primary current provided by an electron emitter, such as a thermionic emitter, will provide high gains. By impressing the proper voltages thereon, the entrance and exit surfaces of the microchannel plate serve respectively as equivalents to the control grid and screen grid in a conventional type tube.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Payne Y [451 Dec. 10, 1974 ELECTRON DEVICE INCORPORATING A MICROCHANNEL SECONDARY EMITTER [75] Inventor: Wesley J. Payne, Bath, NY.

[73] Assignee: The 'United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army, Washington, DC.

[22] Filed: Nov. 21, 1973 [21] Appl. N0.: 418,001

[52] US. Cl. 313/105, 330/42 [51] Int. Cl. .(H0lj 43/02 [58] Field of Search 250/213 VT;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS QTHER PUBLlCATlONS Panitz, J. A., Wide Aperture Channel Plate Electron PL ANAR SURFACE ELECTRON SOURCE Toyoda 313/105' Multipliers for Mass Spectrometer, Rev. Sci. Instrum., 42, 5-1971, pp. 724-725.

Primary ExaminerMichael J. Lynch Assistant ExaminerWm. H. Punter Attorney, Agent, or FirmNathan Edelberg; Milton W. Lee

[5 7] ABSTRACT An electron device incorporating a microchannel plate as a secondary emission electron source which in addition to the primary current provided by an electron emitter, such as a thermionic emitter, will provide high gains. By impressing the proper voltages thereon, the entrance and exit surfaces of the microchannel plate serve respectively as equivalents to the control grid and screen grid in a conventional type tube.

2 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure MICRO- CHANNEL PLATE VMCPIN VMCP'OUT V PATENTEU UEC I 01974 PLANAR SURFACE ELECTRON SOURCE o VMCPOUT VA VMCPIN ELECTRON DEVICE INCORPORATING A MICROCHANNEL SECONDARY EMITTER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention described is directed to an electron device for obtaining voltage gain, oscillation, frequency mixing, detection, power transfer and for various other uses by utilizing the characteristics of the microchannel plate.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART It is present practice in electron devices to use thermionic emitters as a sole source of electrons for the purpose of obtaining voltage gain, oscillation, frequency mixing, detection, power transfer and other purposes. The thermionic emitter is usually, but not necessarily, in the form of an indirectly heated cathode coated with mixture of carbonates, which when reduced provide electrons. Concentric with this cathode are located grids and anodes which provide the necessary control, suppression, focusing and collection of the electrons emitted by the thermionic emitter. -A plurality of the electrons emitted by the cathode are collected by the anode or plate concentric with the cathode, while a minority of these electrons are collected by other electrodes such as the screen grid'or other accelerating electrodes. For a given amount of electrons or current from the emitter, the efficiency or gain of an electron device is dependent upon the extent of change in plate (anode) current relative to the change of voltage impressed on the first or control grid. This is referred to as the transconductance (G dI /dE of the device; and the higher this characteristic the higher the gain of the device. To obtain higher levels of transconductance it has been common practice to utilize control grids which embody a large number of turns per inch of very fine wire (lateral wire) which permits large changes in electrons passing through or between these wires for very discrete changes in the voltage applied to them. For a device having a given control grid construction, the transconductance may be increased by increasing the number of electrons thus creating a higher level of current to be varied by the given control grid construction. This has the disadvantage of requiring an emitter of large physical size which is not always desirable, particularly in high frequency applications where interelectrode capacities become an important part of the required circuitry. Another disadvantage is that more power is required to bring the emitter up to the required temperature to obtain electron emission.

To acquire high values of G secondary emission has been employed to multiply the electron current after it has passed through the control grid. This has been done by deflecting the electrons (after passing through the control grid) onto appropriately treated surfaces at the appropriate angle of incidences where secondary electrons. are generated and are subsequently collected by the anode. The transconductance or gain of these tubes is thus increased by a factor equal to the number of secondary electrons generated by each primary electron. If four secondary electrons are obtained for each primary the transconductances is increased by a factor of four. While this has the advantage of requiring smaller electron emitting surfaces to obtain very high values of transconductance, there are inherent disadvantages to this device, such as the much more complex mechanica] construction, treatment and care in handling the secondary emission surfaces. Due to these and other disadvantages, this type of device has found limited usage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the object of this invention to provide an electron device which will incorporate a microchannel plate as a secondary emission electron source which in addition to the primary current provided by an electron emitter, as for example, a thermionic emitter, will provide extremely high gains. It is a further object of this disclosure to utilize the conducting surfaces of the microchannel plate as the control and screen grid electrodes necessary for the proper functioning of the device.

The advantages of this invention are as follows:

1. The gain of the microchannel multiplied by the gain realized from using the input electrode as a control grid permits design of a device of enormous gain.

2. Use of the input microchannel electrode as a control grid and the output microchannel electrodes as a screen grid greatly simplifies the construction since electrodes are in perfect alignment; no grid adjusting is' required and screen current (microchannel exit surface) is minimal.

3. Due to the large numbers of secondaries generated by the microchannel plate, the primary current can be low; in fact the lower the primary current the higher the microchannel gain since they have a tendency to saturate at higher current densities. A very low heater power is thus required to provide this minimal primary current density. It is conceivable that cold emitters might even be used to furnish the required current density.

4. Microphonics characteristics would also be improved due to the solid construction and the absence of flimsy wire parts incorporated in conventional tubes.

5. The lower heater power requirements reduces the power supply demands, hence increasing the portability of equipment incorporating these devices.

6. Construction is simplified making it more adaptable to automatic assembly procedures.

7. Since the gain is high, and the device may be made very small and compact, it is ideally suited for high frequency application.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The drawing shows the arrangement of components for one contemplated embodiment of the disclosed invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As shown in the Figure, a thermionic emitter 11, for example, is used to provide the primary electrons. This emitter is of the planar type to permituniform spacing with the microchannel plate l2.'The entrance surface 13 of the microchannel plate 12 by being made conductive is used as the control grid and will permit electrons to enter or not, depending upon the potential impressed upon it by a voltage source V A signal to be amplified could also be added at this point. Since the equal G X G in this case being that at the entrance surface 13.

A suppressor grid 16 with voltage V, is shown between the exit surface 14 and the anode 15 which has voltage V,, applied thereto. The function of the suppressor 16 is to provide a negative going field to prevent anode secondary electrons from returning to the exit microchannel surface. Anode secondaries are those which are released from the anode surface by electrons impinging thereon from the microchannel exit surface. By selecting appropriate distances between the microchannel exit surface and the anode, the suppressor may not be required.

While only one embodiment of the contemplated invention has been described, it is to be understood that many variations, substitutions and alterations may be made while remaining within the spirit and scope of the invention which is limited only by the following claims.

I claim:

1. A high gain electron device comprising:

a planar surface electron source having means associated therewith for causing electrons to be emitted therefrom;

a microchannel plate having parallel conductive entrance and exit faces positioned proximate said surface with said entrance face and said planar surface in parallel relationship;

anode means positioned to receive electrons from the exit face of said microchannel plate;

means associated with said entrance face for receiving a modulating voltage;

means associated with said exit face for receiving a biasing voltage, whereby the voltages impressed upon said faces control the gain of the device by causing the entrance and exit faces to function vas a control grid and screen grid respectively; and

a suppressor grid located between said exit face and anode for preventing anode electrons from returning to said exit face.

2. The high gain electron device according to claim 1 wherein said electron source and associated means comprise an indirectly heated planar thermionic emitter.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3790840 *Mar 31, 1972Feb 5, 1974Murata Manufacturing CoSecondary electron multiplying device using semiconductor ceramic
Non-Patent Citations
1 *Panitz, J. A., Wide Aperture Channel Plate Electron Multipliers for Mass Spectrometer, Rev. Sci. Instrum., 42, 5 1971, pp. 724 725.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4481531 *Jan 13, 1984Nov 6, 1984Massachusetts Institute Of TechnologyMicrochannel spatial light modulator
US4568853 *Jul 15, 1985Feb 4, 1986U.S. Philips CorporationElectron multiplier structure
US4879496 *Apr 9, 1986Nov 7, 1989U.S. Philips CorporationDisplay tube
US5132586 *Apr 4, 1991Jul 21, 1992The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyMicrochannel electron source
US5150067 *Apr 16, 1990Sep 22, 1992Mcmillan Michael RElectromagnetic pulse generator using an electron beam produced with an electron multiplier
US6239549Jan 9, 1998May 29, 2001Burle Technologies, Inc.Electron multiplier electron source and ionization source using it
US6895096Apr 21, 2000May 17, 2005Deluca John P.Microchannel plate audio amplifier
DE3217405A1 *May 8, 1982Dec 9, 1982Philips NvElektronenvervielfachungsstruktur, verfahren zum herstellen einer derartigen struktur und ihre anwendung in einer fotoelektrischen roehre
EP0902959A1 *May 20, 1997Mar 24, 1999Mako, Frederick MichaelMulti-stage electron gun having an electrostatic cavity
EP0902959A4 *May 20, 1997Aug 18, 1999Schwartz Ansel MMulti-stage electron gun having an electrostatic cavity
U.S. Classification313/105.00R, 313/105.0CM, 330/42
International ClassificationH01J3/00, H01J21/02, H01J21/00, H01J3/02
Cooperative ClassificationH01J21/02, H01J3/023
European ClassificationH01J3/02C, H01J21/02