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Thermionic current densities from first principles
1. J. W. Schwede, I. Bargatin, D. C. Riley, B. E. Hardin, S. J. Rosenthal, Y. Sun, F. Schmitt, P. Pianetta, R. T. Howe, Z.-X. Shen, and N. A. Melosh, Nature Mater. 9, 762 (2010).
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We present a density functional theory-based method for calculating thermionic emission currents from a cathode into vacuum using a non-equilibrium Green's function approach. It does not require semi-classical approximations or crude simplifications of the electronic structure used in previous methods and thus provides quantitative predictions of thermionic emission for adsorbate-coated surfaces. The obtained results match well with experimental measurements of temperature-dependent current densities. Our approach can thus enable computational design of composite electrode materials.
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