Ultrafast laser-triggered emission from hafnium carbide tips
Electron emission from hafnium carbide (HfC) field emission tips induced by a sub-10-fs, 150-MHz repetition rate Ti:sapphire laser is studied. Two-photon emission is observed at low power with a moderate electric bias field applied to the tips. As the bias field and/or laser power is increased, the average current becomes dominated by thermally enhanced field emission due to laser heating: both the low thermal conductivity of HfC and the laser's high repetition rate can lead to a temperature rise of several hundred Kelvin at the tip apex. The contribution of current from a thermal transient at times shorter than the electron-phonon coupling time is considered in the context of the two-temperature model (TTM). Under the conditions of this experiment, the integrated current from the thermal transient is shown to be negligible in comparison with the two-photon emission. A finite element model of the laser heating and thermal conduction supports these conclusions and is also used to compare the nature of thermal effects in HfC, tungsten, and gold tips.