Field emission properties of nanocrystalline diamond films show low turn-on fields resulting in significant electron emission at low applied fields originating from individual sites with an emission site density of ∼104/cm2. We have employed a high resolution electron emission microscope operating in field emission mode to image the spatial distribution of emission sites for intrinsic nanocrystalline diamond thin films. The location of individual emission sites has been directly correlated to the surface morphology probed by scanning electron microscopy. Surface topography measurements show fine structured features consisting of micron and submicron domains separated by grain boundaries. No preferred topographic features that would account for field emission can be detected suggesting that the electronic structure of the grains and their boundaries under a high electric field has to be considered in order to account for the observed emission characteristics.
- Field emission
- Plasma chemical vapor deposition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Materials Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering