An electron gun for generating an electron beam is provided, which includes a secondary emitter. The secondary emitter includes a non-contaminating negative-electron-affinity (NEA) material and emitting surface. The gun includes an accelerating region which accelerates the secondaries from the emitting surface. The secondaries are emitted in response to a primary beam generated external to the accelerating region. The accelerating region may include a superconducting radio frequency (RF) cavity, and the gun may be operated in a continuous wave (CW) mode. The secondary emitter includes hydrogenated diamond. A uniform electrically conductive layer is superposed on the emitter to replenish the extracted current, preventing charging of the emitter. An encapsulated secondary emission enhanced cathode device, useful in a superconducting RF cavity, includes a housing for maintaining vacuum, a cathode, e.g., a photocathode, and the non-contaminating NEA secondary emitter with the uniform electrically conductive layer superposed thereon.