Effect of heating and resistance on emission properties of carbon nanotubes

Sergey V. Bulyarskiy 1, Alexander A. Dudin 1, Alexander V. Lakalin 1, Andrey P. Orlov 1, Alexander A. Pavlov 1, Roman M. Ryazanov 2, Artemiy A. Shamanaev 2


We have studied the effect of the series resistance on the heating of the cathode, which is based on carbon nanotubes and serves to realize the field emission of electrons into the vacuum. The experiment was performed with the single multi-walled carbon nanotube (MCNT) that was separated from the array grown by CVD method with thin-film Ni-Ti catalyst (nickel 4 nm / Ti 10 nm). The heating of the cathode leads to the appearance of a current of the thermionic emission. The experimental voltage current characteristic exhibited the negative resistance region caused by thermal field emission. This current increases strongly with increasing voltage and contributes to the degradation of the cold emitter. The calculation of the temperature of the end of the cathode is made taking into account the effect of the phenomenon that warms up and cools the cathode. We have developed a method for processing of the emission volt-ampere characteristics of a cathode, which relies on a numerical calculation of the field emission current and the comparison of these calculations with experiments. The model of the volt-ampere characteristic takes into account the CNT’s geometry, properties, its contact with the catalyst; heating and simultaneous implementation of the thermionic and field emission. The calculation made it possible to determine a number of important parameters, among which the voltage and current of the beginning of thermionic emission, the temperature distribution along the cathode, the resistance of the nanotube. The phenomenon of thermionic emission from CNT’s was investigated experimentally and theoretically. The conditions of this type emission occurrence were defined. The results of the study could form the basis of theory of CNT emitter’s degradation.


Carbon nanotubes; field emission; thermionic emission; volt-ampere characteristic; emitter temperature.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24294/can.v2i2.567


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