What is it about?

CsSb films grown with molecular beam epitaxy are found to be efficient, robust, and ultrasmooth photocathodes, making them exciting candidates as high-brightness electron sources for colliders, light sources, and time resolved ultrafast microscopes.

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Why is it important?

Electron accelerators are more efficient if the electron beams they employ are brighter, which means dense and collimated. Ultimately, the brightness in linear accelerators depends on the birth moment of the beam, when electrons are generated by photoemission from a cathode. The atomic-scale properties of the material determine then the performances of meter (time-resolved electron microscopes) to kilometer-scale (colliders and free electron lasers) instruments. Ordered, atomically flat materials with good photoemission efficiency can generate such beams, and in order to control these properties, we use advanced growth techniques and surface science methods.


As a Condensed Matter physicist I find very fascinating that atomic-scale properties of a very thin layer of functional material can affect the performance of extremely complex electron accelerating machines. The synergy between accelerator Physics and material sciences can bring huge progress on both sides, considering the new experimental capabilities unlocked by more performing accelerators, such as better electron microscopes or advanced light sources.

Prof. Alice Galdi
Universita degli Studi di Salerno

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This page is a summary of: Atomically smooth films of CsSb: A chemically robust visible light photocathode, APL Materials, October 2023, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0166334.
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