Dynamic analysis of material ejection from cathodic metal nano-tips due to local heating and field generated stress
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The potential for explosive cathode emission due to nanoprotrusions subjected to Maxwell stress and heating from strong electric fields is probed self-consistently based on non-equilibrium molecular-dynamics. The focus is on determining the electric field magnitudes that could lead to material ejection, assessing dependencies of the instability on the nanoprotrusion height and cross-sectional area, and the role of time-dependent thermal conductivity and local temperature changes. Our results indicate that large aspect ratios would facilitate mass ejection, with protrusion break up occurring over times in the 25 ns range, in agreement with experimental reports on explosive emission.