Conjugated Polyelectrolytes: A New Class of Field Emission Adlayer

Matthew Cole, Richard Parmee, Abishek Kumar, Clare M. Collins, Moon H. Kang, J Xiao, Cinzia Cepek, Xuesong Yuan, William I. Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


Here we report on a straightforward and rapid means of enhancing the field electron emission performance of nascent vertically aligned multi-walled carbon nanotubes by introducing a polar zwitterionic conjugated polyelectrolyte adlayer at the vacuum–emitter interface. We attribute the observed 66% decrease in turn-on electric field to the augmented emitter micro-morphology and shifted surface band structure. The composite emitters can be optically modulated by exploiting the absorption cross-section of the solution cast adlayer, which increases the local carrier concentration which broadens the effective electrostatic shape of the emitter during optical excitation. Assessment via scanning anode field emission microscopy reveals a 25% improvement in DC time stability, a significant reduction in long-term hysteresis shift, and a threefold increase in bandwidth during pulsed mode operation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalNanoscale Horizons
Issue number1
Early online date9 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • Field Emission
  • Electron Emission
  • Nanomaterials


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