Growth and control of nanoprotrusions on iridium field emitters

Chalamala, Babu R.; Reuss, Robert H.; Dean, Kenneth A.
April 2001
Applied Physics Letters;4/16/2001, Vol. 78 Issue 16, p2375
Academic Journal
We report on the direct observation of the growth of nanoprotrusions on iridium field-emission tips. For clean, protrusion-free field emitters, the field emission originated from crystal planes with low-work-function values. However, with continuous operation, we observed the growth of nanoprotrusions on crystalline planes where there was initially no detectable emission. The protrusions were estimated to be approximately 2-3 nm in diameter and 5-15 nm in height. Protrusion growth led to an increase in field-emission current by several orders of magnitude. However, the tips were destroyed when operated with sustained emission current values greater than 10 μA. We found that stable operation and control of protrusion growth can be achieved by either progressively reducing the anode voltage or by adding a series resistor. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.


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