In the solid-state field-controlled emitter (SSE), the emission barrier, which is the factor of utmost importance for surface electron emission, is tailored by a controlled extrinsic parameter like the injected space charge located near the surface. This is done by depositing an ultra-thin wide band-gap semiconductor layer on a metallic surface. It is an alternative approach to the thermionic or field emission for which the work function value is intrinsic to the material used. The emission current measurements from the SSE cold cathodes show stable emission, at low applied field (≈50 V/μm) and in poor vacuum (≈10−7 Torr). The new emission mechanism has been modeled, the calculations and the theoretical analysis confirm the experimental results. The fabrication of the SSE, either by a sputter deposition in vacuum or by a sol-gel technique, meets most of the demands specific to high throughput fabrication of cold cathodes with large emitting area dedicated to applications in vacuum microelectronics.
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Binh, V.T., Dupin, J.P., Thevenard, P. et al. Solid-State Field-Controlled Electron Emission: An alternative to thermionic and field-emission. MRS Online Proceedings Library 621, 431 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-621-R4.3.1