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Electrons in Gases

Nature volume 162, page 276 (21 August 1948) | Download Citation



DISCHARGE phenomena, which may be as varied as lightning, the operation of counters, or the growth of photo-electric currents, all depend upon the mechanics of electrons in gases. Any picture of those processes which involve electron and atom collisions must be built upon experimental determinations of such factors as the atomic cross-section and the fractional loss of energy in collision. Further, the related entities of electron-drift speed and energy of agitation, or temperature, and probably the process of attachment also, depend upon those factors through the electron-energy distribution function. This function depends upon the electric intensity, the gas concentration, and on the variation of atomic cross-section with velocity, and thus varies from gas to gas in a manner which, for any given case, is at present best found experimentally.

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