Realization of an easily manufacturable field emission device has been widely recognized as one of the keys to the widespread acceptance of vacuum microelectronics technology. Working to achieve this goal, many researchers have investigated edge emission cathodes similar to those developed by Gray etal. These efforts include work in the area of nonplanar edge emission devices reported by Weichold etal. and devices reported by Itoh etal. Based on that concept, this paper describes an improved nonplanar edge emission diode, suitable for monolithic integration. The structure described by Weichold has several interesting qualities, including the ability to easily define, nonphotolithographically, the anode to cathode spacing during the fabrication process. Additionally, the unique device geometry provides several advantages over traditional structures. Unfortunately, this device does not lend itself well to integration, due to the difficulty of making electrical contact to the cathode. An improved nonplanar diode design which addresses this issue has been conceived and manufactured. The new design has the additional advantage of relying only upon standard manufacturing techniques for its construction. Preliminary device testing has shown current–voltage characteristics that follow the Fowler–Nordheim model for cold field emission over several orders of magnitude of current. In this work, various cathode sizes are investigated and several cathode array sizes are tested.

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