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A dual beam system consisting of focused ion and electron beams was used for manufacturing of Nb-gated silicon field emitter arrays. Gate opening was produced either by reactive focused ion beam etching of both the niobium and the silicon dioxide layer or by physical sputtering of the niobium layer by focused ion beam and subsequent wet etching of the underlying silicon dioxide layer. Platinum tips were deposited into the gate opening using an electron beam induced chemical reaction. Prototype devices, which exhibit field emission, were produced successfully. Several process parameters such as ion dose, beam diameter, and etch duration were systematically varied to identify the optimum condition for the fabrication of field emitter arrays. © 2000 American Vacuum Society.