The Electron Emission Characteristics of Aluminum, Molybdenum and Carbon Nanotubes Studied by Field Emission and Photoemission.
Description: The electron emission characteristics of aluminum, molybdenum and carbon nanotubes were studied. The experiments were setup to study the emission behavior as a function of temperature and exposure to oxygen. Changes in the surface work function as a result of thermal annealing were monitored with low energy ultra-violet photoelectron spectroscopy for flat samples while field emission energy distributions were used on tip samples. The change in the field emission from fabricated single tips exposed to oxygen while in operation was measured using simultaneous Fowler-Nordheim plots and electron energy distributions. From the results a mechanism for the degradation in the emission was concluded. Thermal experiments on molybdenum and aluminum showed that these two materials can be reduced at elevated temperatures, while carbon nanotubes on the other hand show effects of oxidation. To purely reduce molybdenum a temperature in excess of 750 ºC is required. This temperature exceeds that allowed by current display device technology. Aluminum on the other hand shows reduction at a much lower temperature of at least 125 ºC; however, its extreme reactivity towards oxygen containing species produces re-oxidation. It is believed that this reduction is due to the outward diffusion of aluminum atoms through the oxide. Carbon nanotubes on the other hand show signs of oxidation as they are heated above 700 ºC. In this case the elevated temperatures cause the opening of the end caps allowing the uptake of water. Oxygen exposure experiments indicate that degradation in field emission is two-fold and is ultimately dependent on the emission current at which the tip is operated. At low emission currents the degradation is exclusively due to oxidation. At high emission currents ion bombardment results in the degradation of the emitter. In between the two extremes, molybdenum tips are capable of stable emission.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Sosa, Edward Delarosa