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Carbon nanoparticles were prepared from H2 and CH4 by microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition at various temperatures as low as 250 °C by using nickel and iron as catalysts. The carbon nanoparticles are well graphitized until a temperature as low as 400 °C, and the degree of graphitization increases with increasing growth temperature. Field emission measurements showed that the carbon nanoparticles are excellent electron field emitters, comparable to carbon nanotubes. Field emission properties became better with increasing growth temperature, and the threshold fields of the carbon nanoparticles deposited at 400, 500, 670 °C, were 3.2, 3, and 1 V/μm, respectively. No emission was observed for the carbon nanoparticles deposited below 400 °C. The low threshold field of the carbon nanoparticles is attributed to field enhancement effect and the higher degree of graphitization. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.
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