On-Chip Electron Emission and Related Devices

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "A:Physics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 9369

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Electronics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Interests: electron emission; vacuum electronic micro/nanodevice; on-chip electron source
College of Electrical and Information Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, China
Interests: micro- and nanotechnology; vacuum electronic device; power semiconductor device

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that most vacuum electronic devices based on free electron beam (EB) have given way to solid state devices because of the disadvantages of bulky size, high cost, difficulty in integration, etc. However, there are still lots of irreplaceable electron beam-based devices and instruments nowadays, including microwave tubes, X-ray tubes, electron guns, etc., even though they still encounter the above-mentioned disadvantages. Benefit from the development in advanced nanomaterials and microfabrication technologies in recent years, it becomes possible to scale down and integrate these electron beam-based devices and instruments on a chip, which makes them free of above-mentioned disadvantages and exhibit boosted performances, and breathes new life into this traditional area. For example, vacuum transistors, a kind of vacuum triodes scaled down on a chip, have rekindled many researchers’ interest in old-fashioned devices because they can combine the respective advantages of traditional vacuum triodes and solid-state transistors. Despite the bright future of the area, there are still lots of challenges to be resolved in order to realize practical on-chip EB-based devices and integrated systems. For example, as an essential component for all on-chip vacuum electronic devices, on-chip electron sources satisfying the requirements of the applications still prove challenging. Accordingly, this Special Issue seeks to showcase research papers, communications, and review articles that focus on developments in on-chip electron emission with any kind of emission mechanisms and materials, and any kind of EB-based devices and systems scaled down and integrated on a chip.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Dr. Xianlong Wei
Dr. Yuwei Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • electron emission
  • field emission
  • thermionic emission
  • hot electron emission
  • Spindt cathode
  • microfabrication
  • on-chip
  • vacuum nanoelectronics
  • electron beam-based device
  • vacuum transistor
  • nanomaterial
  • electron source
  • vacuum electronic device

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 2922 KiB  
Article
Quantitative Field Emission Imaging for Studying the Doping-Dependent Emission Behavior of Silicon Field Emitter Arrays
by Andreas Schels, Florian Herdl, Matthias Hausladen, Dominik Wohlfartsstätter, Simon Edler, Michael Bachmann, Andreas Pahlke, Rupert Schreiner and Walter Hansch
Micromachines 2023, 14(11), 2008; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi14112008 - 28 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Field emitter arrays (FEAs) are a promising component for novel vacuum micro- and nanoelectronic devices, such as microwave power amplifiers or fast-switching X-ray sources. However, the interrelated mechanisms responsible for FEA degradation and failure are not fully understood. Therefore, we present a measurement [...] Read more.
Field emitter arrays (FEAs) are a promising component for novel vacuum micro- and nanoelectronic devices, such as microwave power amplifiers or fast-switching X-ray sources. However, the interrelated mechanisms responsible for FEA degradation and failure are not fully understood. Therefore, we present a measurement method for quantitative observation of individual emission sites during integral operation using a low-cost, commercially available CMOS imaging sensor. The emission and degradation behavior of three differently doped FEAs is investigated in current-regulated operation. The measurements reveal that the limited current of the p-doped emitters leads to an activation of up to 55% of the individual tips in the array, while the activation of the n-type FEA stopped at around 30%. This enhanced activation results in a more continuous and uniform current distribution for the p-type FEA. An analysis of the individual emitter characteristics before and after a constant current measurement provides novel perspectives on degradation behavior. A burn-in process that trims the emitting tips to an integral current-specific ideal field enhancement factor is observed. In this process, blunt tips are sharpened while sharp tips are dulled, resulting in homogenization within the FEA. The methodology is described in detail, making it easily adaptable for other groups to apply in the further development of promising FEAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Chip Electron Emission and Related Devices)
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13 pages, 3698 KiB  
Article
Proof-of-Concept Vacuum Microelectronic NOR Gate Fabricated Using Microelectromechanical Systems and Carbon Nanotube Field Emitters
by Tasso von Windheim, Kristin H. Gilchrist, Charles B. Parker, Stephen Hall, James B. Carlson, David Stokes, Nicholas G. Baldasaro, Charles T. Hess, Leif Scheick, Bernard Rax, Brian Stoner, Jeffrey T. Glass and Jason J. Amsden
Micromachines 2023, 14(5), 973; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi14050973 - 29 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1347
Abstract
This paper demonstrates a fully integrated vacuum microelectronic NOR logic gate fabricated using microfabricated polysilicon panels oriented perpendicular to the device substrate with integrated carbon nanotube (CNT) field emission cathodes. The vacuum microelectronic NOR logic gate consists of two parallel vacuum tetrodes fabricated [...] Read more.
This paper demonstrates a fully integrated vacuum microelectronic NOR logic gate fabricated using microfabricated polysilicon panels oriented perpendicular to the device substrate with integrated carbon nanotube (CNT) field emission cathodes. The vacuum microelectronic NOR logic gate consists of two parallel vacuum tetrodes fabricated using the polysilicon Multi-User MEMS Processes (polyMUMPs). Each tetrode of the vacuum microelectronic NOR gate demonstrated transistor-like performance but with a low transconductance of 7.6 × 10−9 S as current saturation was not achieved due to a coupling effect between the anode voltage and cathode current. With both tetrodes working in parallel, the NOR logic capabilities were demonstrated. However, the device exhibited asymmetric performance due to differences in the CNT emitter performance in each tetrode. Because vacuum microelectronic devices are attractive for use in high radiation environments, to test the radiation survivability of this device platform, we demonstrated the function of a simplified diode device structure during exposure to gamma radiation at a rate of 45.6 rad(Si)/second. These devices represent a proof-of-concept for a platform that can be used to build intricate vacuum microelectronic logic devices for use in high-radiation environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Chip Electron Emission and Related Devices)
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11 pages, 4142 KiB  
Article
Structure Optimization of Planar Nanoscale Vacuum Channel Transistor
by Ji Xu, Congyuan Lin, Yu Li, Xueliang Zhao, Yongjiao Shi and Xiaobing Zhang
Micromachines 2023, 14(2), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi14020488 - 19 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1726
Abstract
Due to its unique structure, discoveries in nanoscale vacuum channel transistors (NVCTs) have demonstrated novel vacuum nanoelectronics. In this paper, the structural parameters of planar-type NVCTs were simulated, which illustrated the influence of emitter tip morphology on emission performance. Based on simulations, we [...] Read more.
Due to its unique structure, discoveries in nanoscale vacuum channel transistors (NVCTs) have demonstrated novel vacuum nanoelectronics. In this paper, the structural parameters of planar-type NVCTs were simulated, which illustrated the influence of emitter tip morphology on emission performance. Based on simulations, we successfully fabricated back-gate and side-gate NVCTs, respectively. Furthermore, the electric properties of NVCTs were investigated, showing the potential to realize the high integration of vacuum transistors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Chip Electron Emission and Related Devices)
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10 pages, 1952 KiB  
Article
Vertical Nanoscale Vacuum Channel Triodes Based on the Material System of Vacuum Electronics
by Panyang Han, Xinghui Li, Jun Cai and Jinjun Feng
Micromachines 2023, 14(2), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi14020346 - 30 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1458
Abstract
Nanoscale vacuum channel triodes realize the vacuum-like transmission of electrons in the atmosphere because the transmission distance is less than the mean free path of electrons in air. This new hybrid device is the deep integration of vacuum electronics technology, micro-nano electronics technology, [...] Read more.
Nanoscale vacuum channel triodes realize the vacuum-like transmission of electrons in the atmosphere because the transmission distance is less than the mean free path of electrons in air. This new hybrid device is the deep integration of vacuum electronics technology, micro-nano electronics technology, and optoelectronic technology. It has the advantages of both vacuum and solid-state devices and is considered to be the next generation of vacuum electronic devices. In this work, vertical nanoscale vacuum channel diodes and triodes with edge emission were fabricated using advanced micro-nano processing technology. The device materials were all based on the vacuum electronics material system. The field emission characteristics of the devices were investigated. The diode continued emitting at a bias voltage from 0 to 50 V without failure, and the current variation under different vacuum degrees was better than 2.1%. The field emission characteristics of the devices were evaluated over a wide pressure range of between 10−7 Pa and 105 Pa, and the results could explain the vacuum-like behavior of the devices when operating in air. The current variation of the triode is better than 6.1% at Vg = 8 V and Va = 10 V. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Chip Electron Emission and Related Devices)
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8 pages, 1936 KiB  
Article
An On-Chip Microscale Vacuum Chamber with High Sealing Performance Using Graphene as Lateral Feedthrough
by Panpan Yu, Fangyuan Zhan, Weidong Rao, Yanqing Zhao, Zheng Fang, Zidong Tu, Zhiwei Li, Dengzhu Guo and Xianlong Wei
Micromachines 2023, 14(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi14010084 - 29 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1326
Abstract
On-chip microscale vacuum chambers with high sealing performance and electrical feedthroughs are highly desired for microscale vacuum electronic devices and other MEMS devices. In this paper, we report an on-chip microscale vacuum chamber which achieves a high sealing performance by using monolayer graphene [...] Read more.
On-chip microscale vacuum chambers with high sealing performance and electrical feedthroughs are highly desired for microscale vacuum electronic devices and other MEMS devices. In this paper, we report an on-chip microscale vacuum chamber which achieves a high sealing performance by using monolayer graphene as lateral electrical feedthrough. A vacuum chamber with the dimensions of π × 2 mm × 2 mm × 0.5 mm is fabricated by anodically bonding a glass chip with a through-hole between two Si chips in a vacuum, after monolayer graphene electrodes have been transferred to the surface of one of the Si chips. Benefiting from the atomic thickness of monolayer graphene, the leak rate of Si–glass bonding interface with a monolayer graphene feedthrough is measured at less than 2 × 10−11 Pa·m3/s. The monolayer graphene feedthrough exhibits a minor resistance increase from 22.5 Ω to 31 Ω after anodic bonding, showing good electrical conductance. The pressure of the vacuum chamber is estimated to be 185 Pa by measuring the breakdown voltage. Such a vacuum is found to maintain for more than 50 days without obvious degradation, implying a high sealing performance with a leak rate of less than 1.02 × 10−16 Pa·m3/s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Chip Electron Emission and Related Devices)
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12 pages, 5842 KiB  
Article
Optimization of a Field Emission Electron Source Based on Nano-Vacuum Channel Structures
by Ji Xu, Congyuan Lin, Yongjiao Shi, Yu Li, Xueliang Zhao, Xiaobing Zhang and Jian Zhang
Micromachines 2022, 13(8), 1274; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13081274 - 8 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1699
Abstract
Recent discoveries in the field of nanoscale vacuum channel (NVC) structures have led to potential on-chip electron sources. However, limited research has reported on the structure or material parameters, and the superiority of a nanoscale vacuum channel in an electron source has not [...] Read more.
Recent discoveries in the field of nanoscale vacuum channel (NVC) structures have led to potential on-chip electron sources. However, limited research has reported on the structure or material parameters, and the superiority of a nanoscale vacuum channel in an electron source has not been adequately demonstrated. In this paper, we perform the structural optimization design of an NVC-based electron source. First, the structure parameters of a vertical NVC-based electron source are investigated. Moreover, the symmetrical NVC structure is further demonstrated to improve the emission current and effective electron efficiency. Finally, a symmetrical nano-vacuum channel structure is successfully fabricated based on simulations. The results show that the anode current exceeds 15 nA and that the effective electron efficiency exceeds 20%. Further miniaturizing the NVC structures in high integration can be utilized as an on-chip electron source, thereby, illustrating the potential in applications of electron microscopes, miniature X-ray sources and on-chip traveling wave tubes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Chip Electron Emission and Related Devices)
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