IEDM 2015 Slide 15: Vacuum Nanoelectronics Integrated with Silicon

15. Vacuum Nanoelectronics Integrated with Silicon
Category: Noteworthy Papers on Diverse Topics
Paper 33.1 - High Performance and Reliable Silicon Field Emission Arrays Enabled by Silicon Nanowire Current Limiters; Stephen Guerrera et al, MIT

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Vacuum electronics technology may sound like ancient history but a team from MIT has used a modern variant to make some very futuristic devices. They are nanoscale cold cathodes (tiny electron guns) built from arrays of nanowire field emitters that can be integrated with traditional silicon technology. The integrated devices may enable compact new RF amplifiers and sources of terahertz, infrared and X-ray energy. They combine the positive aspects of solid state semiconductors (high gain and low noise) with those of vacuum electronics (high power and efficiency). They demonstrated a current density of >100 A/cm2, more than a hundredfold greater than any other field-emission cathode operated in continuous wave mode. At the same time, the devices also exhibited long lifetimes and low-voltage operation. Each emitter (6-8nm tip diameter) sits atop a vertical silicon nanowire (10µm tall, 100-200nm in diameter). The nanowire acts as a current limiter to protect the emitter from possible damage from heating and arcing. The team built emitter arrays as large as 1,000 x 1,000.


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