The Photoelectron Sheath Around a Spherical Body

  • J. K. E. Tunaley
  • J. Jones
Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 37)


An approximate method based on a variational principle is used to calculate the surface electric field on a spherical body which is photo-emitting electrons. The treatment also allows an estimate of the sheath dimensions to be made. It is shown that, unlike the planar surface, the sheath parameters are strongly dependent on the velocity distributions of the emitted electrons. As the sphere radius is reduced the sheath shrinks for a monoenergetic, isotropic, velocity distribution of electrons at the surface. However for monoenergetic electrons directed radially it expands. The technique is developed because of the possibility of employing it for more complex systems where other methods would prove intractable.

The same problems will be treated by solving the differential equations using a series expansion; this will indicate the accuracy of the method for small spheres.


Velocity Distribution Trial Function Small Sphere Sphere Radius Velocity Distribution Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bernstein, I. B. and Rabinowitz, I. N.: 1959, Phys. Fluids 2 (2), 122.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Grard, R. J. L. and Tunaley, J. K. E.: 1971, J. Geophys. Res. 76 (10), 2498.Google Scholar
  3. Guernsey, R. L. and Fu, J. H. M.: 1970, J. Geophys. Res. 75 (16), 3193.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Matthews, J. and Walker, R. L.: 1965, Mathematical Methods of Physics,Benjamin, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Singer, S. F. and Walker, E. H.: 1962, Icarus 1 (1), 7.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. K. E. Tunaley
    • 1
  • J. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhysicsThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

Personalised recommendations