We report the properties of MgO:Si film as a protective cathode material on the electrical discharge, and the electronic state of the outer-most surface on MgO:Si film characterized by helium Meta-stable De-excitation Spectroscopy (MDS) and that of several nanometer region from the surface evaluated by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). Both of the spectra are discussed focusing on the dependence upon the amount of Si in the MgO film for understanding discharge phenomena. The analyses of the experimental data imply that the discharge properties are not improved due to surface degradation with the increase of Si in MgO films. However, an in-situ discharge experiment, in which MgO:Si films are not exposed for the atmosphere after its deposition, shows that the introduction of Si up to about 1 atomic% has the potential to enhance the secondary electron emission coefficient.
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