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Optimization of silicon field-emission arrays fabrication for space applications

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7 Author(s)
Wang, Ling ; Central Microstructure Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, OX11 0QX, United Kingdom ; Stevens, Robert ; Huq, E. ; Loader, Ian
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Optimization of fabrication of silicon field-emission arrays has been carried out on 4 in. silicon wafers for field-emission electric propulsion neutralizer application. A mixture of SF6, O2, and Ar for silicon tip etches has been optimized to improve the uniformity and process repeatability. A thin aluminum nitride (AlN) film has been coated on gated emitter arrays to enhance the field at the tip and to protect tips from ion bombardment. A statistical analysis of emission characteristic shows a narrow distribution of the turn-on voltage from array to array, which makes it possible to achieve a few milliamperes current emission by connecting several arrays in parallel. Lifetime tests over 1000 h have been carried out on single arrays, producing in excess of 10 μA of emission current under continuous mode of operation. © 2004 American Vacuum Society.

Published in:

Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 3 )

Date of Publication:

May 2004

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