Field-Emitter Arrays for RF Vacuum Microelectronics
Quarterly rept. no. 1
SRI INTERNATIONAL MENLO PARK CA
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This report covers the first quarter of Phase I of a research and development program on the SRI Spindt-type field-emitter-array cathode with a view toward eventual applications in microwave amplifiers. Goals for this first phase have been set a 5 mA total emission with a current density of 5 Asq cm for at least 1 h and demonstrated modulation of the emission current at a frequency of 1 GHz. Our approach has been to identify methods of adapting and modifying the basic cathode structure for microwave operation and to experimentally investigate means of implementing those methods. Two development areas required immediate attention. The first was to find a suitable material and then develop an anode that can be used in close proximity to the cathode without causing difficulties due to outgassing and arcing. The second was to design and fabricate a cathode structure with an interelectrode capacitance consistent with the microwave applications envisioned. In addition, work has begun on improving emitter-tip geometry and packing density with a view toward minimizing driving voltage requirements. Finally, we have started development of a test vehicle for characterizing the cathodes at microwave frequencies.
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