Abstract and Keywords
This article reviews recent advances in field emission cathodes and their applications, focusing on a number of possibilities emerging from the field of nanotechnology. It begins with an overview of the driving forces for the evolution of cold cathodes, laying emphasis on their fundamental characteristics and industrial applications as well as the bottlenecks of metallic field emitters. It then considers single-atom emitters, followed by different examples where the advent of nanotechnology has contributed towards improving new cold cathodes. It also discusses the Fresnel projection microscope and the microgun, a route to the microcolumn approach which is associated with the nanotip; a host of material issues for field emitters, taking into account carbon nanocompounds; carbon-nanotube field emitters; and carbon-nanopearl field emitters. The article concludes with an evaluation of the applications and uses of carbon nanocompounds, carbon nanotubes and carbon nanopearls as cold cathodes.
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