Electron field emission from amorphous carbon is found to depend on the clustering of the sp2 phase. The size of the sp2 phase is varied by thermal annealing and it dominates the effect of other parameters, such as chemical composition, surface termination, sp3 content, or conductivity. The optimum size of the sp2 phase is determined by Raman spectroscopy and is of the order of 1 nm. The field emission originates from the sp2 regions and is facilitated by the large field enhancement from more conductive sp2 clusters in an insulating sp3 matrix.
Ilie, A., Ferrari, AC., Yagi, T., & Robertson, J. (2000). Effect of sp(2)-phase nanostructure on field emission from amorphous carbons. Applied Physics Letters, 76(18), 2627 - 2629. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.126430