Investigating carbon materials for use as the electron emission source in a parallel electron-beam lithography system

W. I. Milne, K. B.K. Teo, M. Chhowalla, G. A.J. Amaratunga, J. Yuan, J. Robertson, P. Legagneux, G. Pirio, Karim Bouzehouane, D. Pribat, W. Bruenger, C. Trautmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A microelectronic parallel electron-beam lithography system using an array of field emitting microguns is currently being developed. This paper investigates the suitability of various carbon based materials for the electron source in this device, namely tetrahedrally bonded amorphous carbon (ta-C), nanoclustered carbon and carbon nanotubes. Ta-C was most easily integrated into a gated field emitter structure and various methods, such as plasma and heavy ion irradiation, were used to induce emission sites in the ta-C. However, the creation of such emission sites at desired locations appeared to be difficult/random in nature and thus the material was unsuitable for this application. In contrast, nanoclustered carbon material readily field emits with a high site density but the by-products from the deposition process create integration issues when using the material in a microelectronic gated structure. Carbon nanotubes are currently the most promising candidate for use as the emission source. We have developed a high yield and clean (amorphous carbon by-product free) PECVD process to deposit single free standing nanotubes at desired locations with exceptional uniformity in terms of nanotube height and diameter. Field emission from an array of nanotubes was also obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-320
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Applied Physics
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001


  • 81.05.U
  • 85.35.K
  • 95.40.H
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Diamond like carbon
  • Field emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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