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The Physics of Gaseous Exposures on Active Field Emission Microcathode Arrays

Description: The interaction of active molybdenum field emission microcathode arrays with oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and helium gases was studied. Experiments were setup to measure the emission characteristics as a function of gas exposures. The resulting changes in the surface work function of the tips were determined from the Fowler-Nordheim plots. The kinetics of the FEA-gas interaction were studied by observing the ion species originating from the array during and after gas exposures with a high resolution quadrupole mass spectrometer. With the work function data and the mass spectrometry information, the mechanisms responsible for emission degradation and subsequent device recovery after exposures have been determined. The data obtained was used in estimating the device lifetimes under various vacuum environments. Also it was found that the gas exposure effects are similar in dc and pulsed modes of operation of the arrays, thus permitting the use of dc mode testing as an effective acceleration method in establishing the device lifetimes under various vacuum conditions. The vacuum conditions required for the long term emission current stability and reliability of vacuum microelectronic devices employing FEAs are established. Exposure of Mo field emitter arrays to oxygen bearing species like oxygen, water and carbon dioxide resulted in serious emission current degradation. Whereas, exposure to methane and hydrogen caused a significant increase in emission current. The control of residual gases like 02, C02 and H20 in the vacuum envelope is essential for the emission current stability and long term reliability of vacuum microelectronic devices employing field emission microcathode technology.
Date: September 1996
Creator: Chalamala, Babu Reddy
Partner: UNT Libraries