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In order to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of the emitting cone in a liquid metal field ion source (LMIS), the response of a LMIS to an extraction voltage pulse when the emitter voltage is close to the threshold voltage has been investigated. A delay between the leading edge of the extraction pulse and the onset of ion emission, which is due to the formation of the emitting cone, has been observed for emitters with threshold voltages in the range of 3.5–5.5 kV. The formation time varied in the range of 0.5–2 μs depending on the amplitude and repetition rate of the extraction pulse. Stable pulsed operation of a LMIS with an ion pulse length down to 50 ns FWHM is demonstrated. In the case of emitters with low threshold voltages in the range of 1.5–2 kV, an extraction pulse amplitude of 6 V was sufficient to achieve stable pulsing and the formation time of the emitting cone was less than 20 ns.