Carbon nanotube-based electron field emitters
National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’, pl. akad. Kurchatova 1, Moscow, 123182, Russian Federation
The current status of research and development of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) electron field emitters is reviewed. The physical aspects of electron field emission that underlie the unique emission properties of CNTs are considered. Physical effects and phenomena affecting the emission characteristics of CNT cathodes are analyzed. Effects given particular attention include the electric field enhancement near a CNT tip; electric field screening by neighboring nanotubes; statistical spread of the parameters of the individual CNTs comprising the cathode; the effects of heat leading to thermal degradation of nanotubes during emission, and adsorbate effects on the surface of the emitter. Advances in vacuum electronics due to the use of CNT field cathodes are reviewed.