Argon inclusion in sputtered films and the effect of the gas on molybdenum field emitter arrays

Chalamala, Babu R.; Reuss, Robert H.
April 2001
Applied Physics Letters;4/9/2001, Vol. 78 Issue 15, p2151
Academic Journal
Residual gas analysis of a number of field emission displays showed that argon desorbed from molybdenum metal lines was the dominant gas in sealed vacuum packages. We present experimental results on the emission characteristics of molybdenum field emitter arrays in argon ambient. In argon, the emission current dropped rapidly similar to that in oxygenic gas ambients. Existing degradation models do not provide an adequate explanation for this behavior. Rather, we suggest a model based on shallow implantation of argon into the field emitter tips that increases the effective width of the tunneling barrier. Experimental support for this model comes from the following observations: emission current degraded only when the device was turned on; after gas exposure, significant current recovery which followed diffusion type behavior was noted; degradation and recovery rates were functions of partial pressure; and no detectable effects associated with sputtering were observed. This mechanism is also consistent with ion pumping known to occur in field emission displays.


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