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Triode field emitters with planar-carbon-nanopaticle (CNP) cathodes were successfully fabricated using the conventional photolithography and the hot-filament chemical vapor deposition. Micro-Raman spectroscopy revealed that CNP cathodes, which had been deposited through tiny gate holes, consisted of good-quality graphitic carbons. Electron emission from a CNP triode emitter with a 12-μm-diam gate hole started at the gate voltage of 45 V, and the anode current reached the level of ∼120 nA at the gate voltage of 60 V, respectively. For the quantitative analysis of the Fowler–Nordheim (FN) type emission from a CNP triode emitter, we carried out two-dimensional numerical calculation of electrostatic potential using the finite element method. As it turned out, a radial variation of electric field was very important to account for the emission from a planar emitting layer. By assuming the graphitic work function of 5 eV for CNPs, we were able to extract a consistent set of FN parameters, together with the radial position of emitting sites. © 2003 American Vacuum Society.