2012 Volume 7 Pages 1204038
The interaction of an intense electron beam with a neutral background material is studied. The neutral material is ionized by the electrostatic field generated by the intense electron beam and electron impact ionization. The structure of the ionization front is analyzed using a one-dimensional model. The structure is determined primarily by electron impact ionization of the ionized background electrons. In addition, the field ionization contributes to the generation of the ionization front by increasing the density of the electron beam.