Hot electron field emission via individually transistor-ballasted carbon nanotube arrays

Chi Li, Yan Zhang, Matthew Cole, Sai G. Shivareddy, Jon S. Barnard, Wei Lei, Baoping Wang, Didier Pribat, Gehan A.J. Amaratunga, William I. Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (SciVal)


We present electronically controlled field emission characteristics of arrays of individually ballasted carbon nanotubes synthesized by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition on silicon-on-insulator substrates. By adjusting the source-drain potential we have demonstrated the ability to controllable limit the emission current density by more than 1 order of magnitude. Dynamic control over both the turn-on electric field and field enhancement factor have been noted. A hot electron model is presented. The ballasted nanotubes are populated with hot electrons due to the highly crystalline Si channel and the high local electric field at the nanotube base. This positively shifts the Fermi level and results in a broad energy distribution about this mean, compared to the narrow spread, lower energy thermalized electron population in standard metallic emitters. The proposed vertically aligned carbon nanotube field-emitting electron source offers a viable platform for X-ray emitters and displays applications that require accurate and highly stable control over the emission characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3236-3242
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2012


  • ballasted
  • carbon nanotubes
  • field emission
  • hot electrons
  • transistor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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