Abstract

Expressions are derived for the dependence of the photoemission from thin films deposited on transparent substrates on the direction of illumination, as determined by optical factors alone. For normal incidence, the photoemission of very thin-film transparent photocathodes may be expected to be about 1.4 times as great for illumination from the glass side as for illumination from the vacuum side. Furthermore, if the index of refraction of the film is large compared with that of the substrate, the ratio, for natural light, is also almost independent of the angle of incidence for a wide angular range. For thicker films, both the optical constants of the film and the mean depth of origin of the photoelectrons play an important role. However, for strongly absorbing as well as nearly transparent photoemissive films, substantially higher photocurrent should be obtainable from a photoemissive film of optimum thickness illuminated through the substrate than for a thick film with similar optical constants illuminated from the vacuum side. An assumed simple proportionality between optical stimulus, here given by the square of the field intensity within the photosensitive film, and photoexcitation implies that the photoeffect studied is a volume effect and not dependent on the direction of the electric vector within the film.

© 1967 Optical Society of America

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