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Issue 45, 2017
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Single-walled carbon nanotube thermionic electron emitters with dense, efficient and reproducible electron emission

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Abstract

Thermionic electron emitters have recently been scaled down to the microscale using microfabrication technologies and graphene as the filament. While possessing several advantages over field emitters, graphene-based thermionic micro-emitters still exhibit low emission current density and efficiency. Here, we report nanoscale thermionic electron emitters (NTEEs) fabricated using microfabrication technologies and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), the thinnest conducting filament we can use. The SWCNT NTEEs exhibit an emission current density as high as 0.45 × 105 A cm−2, which is superior to that of traditional thermionic emitters and five orders of magnitude higher than that of graphene-based thermionic emitters. The emission characteristics of SWCNT NTEEs are found to strongly depend on the electrical properties of the SWCNTs, with metallic SWCNT NTEEs showing a substantially lower turn-on voltage and more reproducible emission performances than those based on semiconducting SWCNTs. Our results indicate that SWCNT NTEEs are promising for electron source applications.

Graphical abstract: Single-walled carbon nanotube thermionic electron emitters with dense, efficient and reproducible electron emission

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Jul 2017, accepted on 16 Oct 2017 and first published on 17 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05388F
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017,9, 17814-17820
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    Single-walled carbon nanotube thermionic electron emitters with dense, efficient and reproducible electron emission

    Y. Wang, G. Wu, L. Xiang, M. Xiao, Z. Li, S. Gao, Q. Chen and X. Wei, Nanoscale, 2017, 9, 17814
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05388F

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