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A lateral field emission device based on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is proposed and the experimental results are reported. In this method, the distance between polysilicon anode and the CNTs cathode was determined by the wet etching process. Thus, the interelectrode gap is easily formed in good uniformity and reproducibility with dimensions below 1 micrometer. The CNTs were selectively grown with microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition system (MPCVD). The turn-on voltage of the fabricated device with interelectrode gap of 0.6 /spl mu/m is as low as 2 volt, and the emission current density is as high as 4 mA/cm at 20 volt. The emission current fluctuation is about /spl plusmn/15% for 2100 sec.