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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were deposited on a tip-type tungsten substrate via electrophoretic deposition, in which a hafnium thin film was used as an interlayer. The long-term (up to 24 h) emission stability of the CNT-based field emitter was remarkably enhanced when the hafnium interlayer was coated and thermally treated. This is attributed to the enhanced adhesion between the substrate and the CNTs. An x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy study and nano-scratch measurement provided a convincing evidence of the increase in the adhesive force.