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Electron field emission (FE) from multiwall carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in gas (Ar and air) for producing microplasma discharge was measured in a scanning electron microscope. The results showed that the FE properties of the CNTs were stable in Ar and air gases when the FE threshold voltages were lower than the conventional gas breakdown voltages. These results proved the probability that microplasma could be sustained by FE electrons emitted from the CNTs without ion bombardment, which could avoid the damage of the cathode.