A complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor process for field emission devices based on {111} silicon surfaces is presented. Structure sizes below 300 nm are produced with i-line lithography and sizes below 100 nm with an additional epitaxial layer. Dot- and line-based structures are investigated by molecular beam epitaxial growth, and {111}-apexes are formed by lateral limitation of the growth site. Qualitative agreement of the experimental observations with a simple model based on total free energy calculations is found. For widths smaller than the migration length quantitative agreement is also found. Nanometer sized silicon ridges with a {111}-apex and curvature radii below 20 nm are used as diode field emission devices. Electrical characterization by simulation and measurement are shown. Electrostatic simulations indicate emission from the ends of the ridges due to higher fields, and therefore, two emission sites per ridge are expected. Distinct linear regions in Fowler–Nordheim coordinates are observed by electrical measurements at elevated pressure levels of about 10−5 mbar. The devices show a conditioning effect, which can be explained by the creation of conducting channels in the native oxide. Immediate destruction of the devices is observed within only a few voltage sweeps. A clear lifetime improvement is obtained by reducing the distance between anode and cathode, indicating major influence of residual gas breakdown.

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