The role of dc current limitations in Fowler-Nordheim electron emission from carbon films

Cui, J. B.; Cui, J.B.; Teo, K. B. K.; Teo, K.B.K.; Tsai, J. T. H.; Tsai, J.T.H.; Robertson, J.; Milne, W. I.; Milne, W.I.
September 2000
Applied Physics Letters;9/18/2000, Vol. 77 Issue 12
Academic Journal
We investigated the electron field emission characteristics of carbon films deposited by filtered cathodic vacuum arc. A special sandwich structure was created using alternating layers of carbon and aluminum. This structure allows both field emission and dc current-voltage characteristics to be measured on the same film. The emission current was found to follow the Fowler-Nordheim law below a critical field, E[sub cri]. Above E[sub cri], the current deviates from the Fowler-Nordheim law but follows the dc current-voltage characteristics of the film. It is concluded that the frequently observed deviation of electron emission from the Fowler-Nordheim law at high field is due to the current limitation of the resistive carbon film. The important implication of this finding for device fabrication is discussed. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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