Carbon nanomaterial is drawing keen interest from researchers as well as materials scientists. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs)—and their nanoscale needle shape—offering chemical stability, thermal conductivity, and mechanical strength exhibit unique properties as a quasi-one-dimensional material. Among the expected applications, field emission electron sources appear the most promising industrially and are approaching practical utilization. However, efforts to construct a field emission (FE) cathode with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have so far only helped average out a non-homogeneous electron emitter plane with large FE current fluctuations and a short emission life-time because they failed to realize a stable emission current owing to crystal defects of the carbon network in CNTs. The utilization of CNTs to obtain an effective cathode, one with a stable emission and low FE current fluctuation, relies on the ability to disperse CNTs uniformly in liquid media. In particular, highly crystalline SWCNTs hold promise to obtain good stability and reliability. The author successfully manufactured highly crystalline SWCNTs-based FE lighting elements that exhibit stable electron emission, a long emission life-time, and low power consumption for electron emitters. This FE device employing highly crystalline SWCNTs has the potential for conserving energy through low power consumption in our habitats.
Part of the book: Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) exhibit chemical stability, thermal conductivity, mechanical strength, and unique properties as a quasi-one-dimensional material with nanoscale needle shape. Field-emission (FE) electron sources appear to be the most promising industrial application for CNTs, and their deployment is approaching practical utilization. So far, efforts to construct an FE cathode with single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have only managed to average out the large FE current fluctuations in a nonhomogeneous electron emitter plane and the short emission lifetime because the crystal defects in the carbon network in CNTs prevent the realization of a stable emission current. The utilization of CNTs to obtain an effective electronic device, one with stable emission and low FE current fluctuations, relies on the high crystallization of CNTs, a task that can be fulfilled by using highly crystalline SWCNTs (hc-SWCNTs). The author could succeed in developing a model of the flow of electrons through the inside of the hc-SWCNTs and SWCNTs with crystal defects to the outside using the fluctuations of the tunneling current. Therefore, we expect that the hc-SWCNTs are used as field emitters with stable emission and low power consumption for saving energy.
Part of the book: Perspective of Carbon Nanotubes