Advanced Strained-Superlattice Photocathodes for Polarized Electron Sources

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Polarized electrons have been essential for high-energy parity-violating experiments and measurements of the nucleon spin structure. The availability of a polarized electron beam was crucial to the success of the Stanford Linear Collider (SLC) in achieving a precise measurement of the electroweak mixing angle, and polarized electron beams will be required for all future linear colliders. Polarized electrons are readily produced by GaAs photocathode sources. When a circularly polarized laser beam tuned to the bandgap minimum is directed to the negative-electron-affinity (NEA) surface of a GaAs crystal, longitudinally polarized electrons are emitted into vacuum. The electron polarization is easily reversed ... continued below

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Moy, Dr. Aaron January 31, 2005.

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Polarized electrons have been essential for high-energy parity-violating experiments and measurements of the nucleon spin structure. The availability of a polarized electron beam was crucial to the success of the Stanford Linear Collider (SLC) in achieving a precise measurement of the electroweak mixing angle, and polarized electron beams will be required for all future linear colliders. Polarized electrons are readily produced by GaAs photocathode sources. When a circularly polarized laser beam tuned to the bandgap minimum is directed to the negative-electron-affinity (NEA) surface of a GaAs crystal, longitudinally polarized electrons are emitted into vacuum. The electron polarization is easily reversed by reversing the laser polarization. The important properties of these photocathodes for accelerator applications are: degree of polarization of the extracted beam; ability to extract sufficient charge to meet accelerator pulse-structure requirements; efficiency and stability of operation; and absence of any asymmetries in the beam properties (charge, position, energy, etc.) upon polarization reversal. The performance of GaAs photocathodes has improved significantly since they were first introduced in 1978 [1]. The theoretical maximum polarization of 50% for natural GaAs was first exceeded in 1991 using the lattice mismatch of a thin InGaAs layer epitaxially grown over a GaAs substrate to generate a strain in the former that broke the natural degeneracy between the heavy- and light-hole valence bands [2]. Polarizations as high as 78% were produced for the SLC from photocathodes based on a thin GaAs epilayer grown on GaAsP [3,4]. After 10 years of experience with many cathode samples at several laboratories [5], the maximum polarization using the GaAs/GaAsP single strained-layer cathode remained limited to 80%, while the quantum efficiency (QE) for a 100-nm epilayer is only 0.3% or less. Two factors were known to limit the polarization of these cathodes: (1) the limited band splitting; and (2) a relaxation of the strain in the epilayer since the 10-nm critical thickness for maintaining perfect strain is exceeded for a 1 % lattice-mismatch [6]. Strained superlattice structures, consisting of very thin quantum well layers alternating with lattice-mismatched barrier layers are excellent candidates for higher polarization. Due to the difference in the effective mass of the heavy- and light-holes, a superlattice exhibits a natural splitting of the valence band, which adds to the strain-induced splitting. In addition, each of the SL layers is thinner than the critical thickness. Polarized photoemission from strained InGaAs/GaAs [7], InGaAdAlGaAs [8], and GaAs/GaAsP [9,10] superlattice structures have been reported in the literature. For this Phase II program, SVT Associates worked with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and University of Wisconsin at Madison to create photocathodes with improved polarization by employing GaAs/GaAsP superlattices. These superlattices consist of alternating thin layers of GaAs and GaAsP. The thicknesses and alloy compositions are designed to create a strained GaAs photoemission layer. Under strain, the heavy-hole and light-hole valence bands in GaAs split, removing degeneracy and allowing high polarization, theoretically 100%. This final report discusses the efforts and results achieved, comparing the device performance of newly created superlattice photocathodes grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) with the devices created by other fabrication technologies, and efforts to optimize and improve the device operation.

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  • Report No.: DOE/FG/83332-3
  • Grant Number: FG02-01ER83332
  • DOI: 10.2172/859311 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 859311
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc787275

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  • January 31, 2005

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Aug. 5, 2016, 3:54 p.m.

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Moy, Dr. Aaron. Advanced Strained-Superlattice Photocathodes for Polarized Electron Sources, report, January 31, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc787275/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.