A rear-excitation femtosecond-laser-driven photoelectron gun (PE-gun) is developed for measuring time-resolved cathodoluminescence (TRCL) spectrum of wide bandgap materials and structures such as semiconductors and phosphors. The maximum quantum efficiency of a 20-nm-thick Au photocathode excited using a frequency-tripled Al 2O 3:Ti laser under a rear-excitation configuration is 3.6 × 10 -6, which is a reasonable value for a PE-gun. When the distance between the front edge of the PE-gun and the observation point is 10 mm, the narrowest electron-beam (e-beam) diameter is 19 m, which corresponds to one tenth of the laser-beam diameter and is comparable to the initial e-beam diameter of a typical W hair-pin filament of thermionic electron-gun. From the results of TRCL measurements on the freestanding GaN grown by the ammonothermal method and a GaN homoepitaxial film grown by metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy, overall response time for the present TRCL system is estimated to be 8 ps. The value is the same as that of time-resolved photoluminescence measurement using the same excitation laser pulses, meaning that the time-resolution is simply limited by the streak-camera, not by the PE-gun performance. The result of numerical simulation on the temporal e-beam broadening caused by the space-charge-effect suggests that the present PE-gun can be used as a pulsed e-beam source for spatio-time-resolved cathodoluminescence, when equipped in a scanning electron microscope.
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