Field emission from tetrahedral amorphous carbonn films withvarious surface morphologies

Y. J. Li, Shu Ping Lau, B. K. Tay, Z. Sun, J. R. Shi, L. K. Cheah, X. Shi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Field emission properties of tetrahedral amorphous carbon films prepared by filtered cathodic vacuum are technique have been compared with different surface morphologies. With fewer cycles of conditioning, field emission from relatively rough granular ta-C films on nickel-coated silicon substrates was routinely improved, due to a local field enhancement resulting from both a 'protrusion-on-protrusion' geometry and a relatively high sp2content in the film. A 2-MeV ion implantation machine was also employed to intentionally produce local graphitic channels in smooth ta-C films with a high fraction of sp3content on bare silicon. A relatively low threshold field was obtained from the ta-C film implanted at a dose of 1012cm-2, which still remained an extremely smooth surface. However, for the highly graphitic sample implanted with a higher dose of over 4 × 1013cm-2, no electron field emission was observed, even under a very high electric field of 40 V μm-1. Therefore, a suitable sp2content in an sp3matrix, resulting in graphitic conductive channels in amorphous carbon films to produce a local field enhancement, may be the main factor in obtaining low threshold fields. Furthermore, protrusive structures could further increase the field enhancement factor, due to a 'protrusion-on-protrusion' geometry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1522
Number of pages8
JournalDiamond and Related Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Conditioning
  • Conductive channels
  • Field emission
  • Tetrahedral amorphous carbon film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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