Influence on the secondary electron yield of the space charge induced in an insulating target by an electron beam
The building up of the space charge induced by electron bombardment in an insulating target is due to the stabilization of self-trapped electrons and holes in polaronic traps. For the energies considered, the target charges positively and the secondary electrons emitted at low energies can be attracted back to the surface. This results in a self-regulation effect where the total secondary yield tends to unity and the surface potential stabilizes at a low positive value. This conclusion is checked for various experimental conditions. The electrons landing on the target form a ring of negative charges that progressively spread out on the surface of the sample.