A porous cathode structure is fabricated from a plurality of wires which are placed in proximity to each other in elevated temperature and pressure for a sintering time. The sintering process produces the porous cathode structure which may be divided into a plurality of individual porous cathodes, one of which may be placed into a dispenser cathode support which includes a cavity for containing a work function reduction material such as BaO, CaO, and Al.sub.2O.sub.3. The work function reduction material migrates through the pores of the porous cathode from a work replenishment surface adjacent to the cavity of the dispenser cathode support to an emitting cathode surface, thereby providing a dispenser cathode which has a uniform work function and therefore a uniform electron emission.
This invention was made with United States government support under Grant DE-FG-03-04ER83918 from the United States Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.