A low-workfunction photocathode includes a photoemissive material employed as a coating on the photocathode. The photoemissive material includes A.sub.nMC.sub.2, where A is a first metal element, the first element is an alkali metal, an alkali-earth element or the element Al; n is an integer that is 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4; M is a second metal element, the second metal element is a transition metal or a metal stand-in; and C.sub.2 is the acetylide ion C.sub.2.sup.2-. The photoemissive material includes a crystalline structure or non-crystalline structure of rod-like or curvy 1-dimensional polymeric substructures with MC.sub.2 repeating units embedded in a matrix of A.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357 between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and University of Chicago, Argonne LLC.