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Lateral field emission devices have been characterized and degradation tested for >1000 h to study stability and reliability. Two types of planar device structures, diode and bowtie, were studied. These nanoscale devices have 10–20 nm tip to tip or tip to collector dimensions with the tips fabricated from Au/Ti. Typical currents of 2–6 nA at 6 V were measured. The devices were placed on lifetime tests in a vacuum of < 10−8 Torr and biased at 6 V DC for >1000 h. Seven total devices were tested with one failing at 300 h. and three of the devices showed < 5% degradation in current until 1400 h when testing was stopped, and three other devices showed a sudden drop of ≈20% ranging from 700 to 900 h. Optical microscope images of one of the devices that failed catastrophically at 350 h show physical arc damage where the bond pad narrows to the emitter trace. Scanning electron microscope images of a bowtie part that completed 1400 h of operation showed no obvious erosion or damage to the tips.

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Bhattacharya, R., Turchetti, M., Keathley, P.D., Berggren, K.K., & Browning, J. (2021). Long Term Field Emission Current Stability Characterization of Planar Field Emitter Devices. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, 39(5), 053201.

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