Numerical Analysis of Electron Runaway in the Presence of Enhanced Field in the Vicinity of a Microtip
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Transition of field-emission electrons to the runaway regime in the region of enhanced electric field determined by the configuration of a microtip on a cathode is studied at several pressures of gas medium. The problem is solved using simulation of electron motion in the presence of nonuniform electric field with the aid of the Monte Carlo procedure in the 2D configuration. Nitrogen is used as a working gas. Passage through a relatively small region of the enhanced field in the vicinity of the microtip may substantially facilitate electron escape to the runaway regime, especially, at pressures of greater than 10 atm. In our opinion, the resulting runaway electrons may provide preionization of gas medium and formation of the initial stage of a 3D discharge.