From SLAC Today: “Phrase of the Week: Thermionic Emission”
July 20, 2012
“If you heat materials to a high enough temperature, some of their electrons will gain enough kinetic energy to literally boil off the surface and into the air or vacuum beyond. Since net motion of electrons constitutes an electrical current, this phenomena, called thermionic emission, is one of the seven basic methods for producing electricity.
(Image courtesy tpub.com)
Thermionic emission is at the heart of a new approach to solar energy harvesting pioneered by Stanford Institute of Materials and Energy Sciences [SIMES] researchers that promises unprecedented efficiency by taking advantage of the improved performances of thermionic and thermal processes at high temperatures.”
See the full article here.
SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.