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Electron field emission from SiC nanopillars produced by using nanosphere lithography
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Field emitter arrays of silicon carbide based nanopillars with high emitter density were fabricated by using a combination of nanosphere lithography and inductively coupled plasma reactive ion etching techniques. The electron field emission characteristics of the produced nanopillars with two different aspect ratios and geometries were investigated, and the obtained results were compared with each other. The authors found that unlike the samples containing low aspect ratio SiC nanopillars with blunt tip apex, the samples comprising high aspect ratio nanopillars with sharp tip apex generate greater emission currents under lower electric fields. The nanopillars with sharp tip apex produced field emission currents up to 240 μA/cm2 under 17.4 V/μm applied electric field, while the nanopillars with blunt tip apex produced an emission current of 70 μA/cm2. The electric fields required to obtain 10 μA/cm2 current density are found to be 9.1 and 7.2 V/μm for the nanopillars with blunt and sharp tip apex, respectively. Time dependent stability measurements yielded stable electron emission without any abrupt change in the respective current levels of both samples.