Ecton or electron avalanche from metal
Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky prosp. 53, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
The so-called explosive electron emission observed as individual packets or avalanches of electrons is shown to occur in microexplosions at the cathode. This microexplosion of electrons is called an ecton. Electron current in an ecton starts to flow as a result of the overheating of metal because of the high energy density (104 J g-1), and the current stops owing to the cooling of the emission zone. Ectons occur in electrical discharges in vacuum, in cathode spots of a vacuum arc, in bulk discharges in gases, in pseudo-spark discharges, in corona discharges, etc.