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Using the hot filament chemical vapor deposition method, patterned nanostructured carbon films with excellent field emission characteristics have been deposited at the nominal substrate temperatures of 540 °C and 450°C on sodalime glass substrates. These films have demonstrated a good visual emission uniformity and good current stability during the continuous operation for 140 h. Taking advantage of the poor adhesion of the nanostructure carbon without a chrome interlayer and selective growth on the metal catalyst, the formation of the patterned nanostructured carbon films has been carried out via the prepattering of the chrome electrodes and/or metal catalyst using the conventional photolithography process. An example of the patterned emitter with high complexity is presented to demonstrate the feasibility of practical emitter fabrication using nanostructured carbon films. © 2001 American Vacuum Society.