Carbon nanotube (CNT) emitters are of interest for inclusion in cold cathodes and field emission displays. CNT field electron emitters self-organized on substrates with an Fe/Al2O3 catalytic/supporting layer, which accelerates CNT growth, are characterized using combinatorial libraries. A variety of morphologies are formed on single substrates by C 2H2 thermal chemical vapor deposition for 10 s at ambient pressure. Degradation of field emission decreases upon prolonged operation. Raman signals from thinner single-walled CNTs predominantly degrade during operation. Controlling the number of protruding thin CNTs is crucial to extracting current and ensuring sustainability. Thin CNTs protruding from CNT ensembles formed on a substrate with a multimodal distribution of catalyst particles show good field emission (FE) properties with practical sustainability. A potential design for self-organized thin CNTs fabricated by the current process is discussed on the basis of the combinatorial evaluation for field emission and 3D electric field simulations.
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