Fabrication and analysis of carbon nanotube based emitters
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We have advanced the state-of-the-art for nano-fabrication of carbon nanotube (CNT) based field emission devices, and have conducted experimental and theoretical investigations to better understand the reasons for the high reduced brightness achieved. We have demonstrated that once the CNT emitter failure modes are better understood and resolved, such CNT emitters can easily reach reduced brightness on the order of 10⁹ A m⁻² sr⁻¹ V⁻¹ and noise levels of about 1%. These results are about 10% better than the best brightness results from a nanotip emitter archived to date. Our CNT emitters have order of magnitude better reduced brightness than state-of-the-art commercial Schottky emitters. Our analytical models of field emission matched our experimental results well. The CNT emitter was utilized in a modified commercial scanning electron microscope (SEM) and briefly operated to image a sample. We also report a successful emission from a lateral CNT emitter element having a single suspended CNT, where the electron emission is from the CNT sidewall. The lateral CNT emitters have reduced brightness on the order of 10⁸ A m⁻² sr⁻¹ V⁻¹, about 10X less than the vertical CNT emitters we fabricated and analyzed. The characteristics of the lateral field emitter were analyzed for manually fabricated and directly grown CNT emitters. There was no significant difference in performance based on the way the CNT emitter was fabricated. We showed that the fabrication technique for making a single CNT emitter element can be scaled to an array of elements, with potential density of 10⁶-10⁷ CNT emitters per cm². We also report a new localized, site selective technique for editing carbon nanotubes using water vapor and a focused electron beam. We have demonstrated the use of this technique to cut CNTs to length with 10s of nanometers precision and to etch selected areas from CNTs with 10s of nanometers precision. The use of this technique was demonstrated by editing a lateral CNT emitter. We have conducted investigations to demonstrate the effects of higher local water pressure on the CNT etching efficiency. This was achieved by developing a new method of localized gas delivery with a nano-manipulator.