Scandate cathodes that were fabricated using the liquid-solid process and that exhibited excellent emission performance were characterized using complementary state-of-the-art electron microscopy techniques. Sub-micron BaAl2O4 particles were observed on the surfaces and edges of tungsten particles, as seen in cross-section samples extracted from the scandate cathode surface regions. Although several BaAl2O4 particles were observed to surround smaller Sc2O3 nanoparticles, no chemical mixing of the two oxides was detected, and in fact the distinct oxide phases were separately verified by chemical analysis and also by 3D elemental tomography. Nanobeam electron diffraction confirmed that the crystal structure throughout W grains is body-centered cubic, indicating that they are metallic W and did not experience noticeable changes, even near the grain surfaces, as a result of the numerous complex chemical reactions that occur during cathode impregnation and activation. 3D reconstruction further revealed that internal Sc/Sc2O3 particles tend to exhibit a degree of correlated arrangement within a given W particle, rather than being distributed uniformly throughout. Moreover, the formation of Sc/Sc2O3 particles within W grains may arise from W surface roughening that occurs during the liquid-solid synthesis process.
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This research was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Innovative Vacuum Electronics Science and Technology (INVEST) program (N66001-16-1-4041).
The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/12/4/636/s1, Video S1: 3D tomogram in Figure 5, Video S2: Scanning nanobeam diffraction in Figure 8, Video S3: 3D reconstruction in Figure 10.
Liu, Xiaotao; Vancil, Bernard K.; Beck, Matthew J.; and Balk, Thomas John, "Near-Surface Material Phases and Microstructure of Scandate Cathodes" (2019). Chemical and Materials Engineering Faculty Publications. 67.