The use of cold cathode field electron emitters in new age vacuum microelectronic devices (VMDs) brings together the best features of the long-standing vacuum tube (e.g., high power) with the proven benefits of solid state power transistors (e.g., long lifetime and miniaturization). Cold cathode devices have the advantage of instantaneous turn, low power consumption, and microscale integration capabilities. Recently, nanomaterials have exhibited themselves as promising candidates for cold cathode electron emitters. In particular, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) feature many excellent FE qualities such as extremely high aspect ratios and Young’s modulus, high tensile strength, and the large activation energy for surface migration of atoms.
The Nanomaterials and Thin Films Lab investigates the development of techniques for growing and depositing nanomaterials for field emission applications, as well as novel characterization techniques. Integrating the as-grown emitters with microscale platforms allows the NTFL to explore novel device and sensor development. Examples include printed circuit board platforms for instrument integration such as the chemical ionization mass spectrometer CNT electron source seen in Fig. 1, and the microelectromechanical system (MEMS) platform with integrated and patterned CNT emitters for miniature mass spectrometer electron/ion sources (Fig. 2) and VMD circuits. Our recent efforts have focused on precision control of material properties and patterning of the nanostructures emitters. Furthermore, uniquely engineered integration methods and characterization techniques have allowed for development of emitter films with a small footprint, long lifetime, and low-power requirements.
E. Radauscher, A. Keil, M. Wells, J. Amsden, J. Piascik, C. Parker, B. Stoner, J. Glass; "Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry Using Carbon Nanotube Field Emission Electron Sources"; Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry; 2015; July; DOI: 10.1007/S13361-015-1212-0 More info
Gilchrist, KH; Piascik, JR; Stoner, BR; Radauscher, EJ; Amsden, JJ; Parker, CB; Glass, JT(2014)."Platform for integrated vacuum microelectronic circuits" IEEE International Vacuum Electronics Conference, IVEC 2014.: 155- 156 More info
Natarajan, S; Parker, CB; Piascik, JR; Gilchrist, KH; Stoner, BR; Glass, JT(2010)."Analysis of 3-panel and 4-panel microscale ionization sources" Journal of Applied Physics.107(12) More info