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Why converting field emission voltages to macroscopic fields before making a Fowler-Nordheim plot has often led to spurious characterization results

Forbes, Richard G. (2019) Why converting field emission voltages to macroscopic fields before making a Fowler-Nordheim plot has often led to spurious characterization results Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, 37 (5), 051802. pp. 1-6.

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Abstract

An important parameter used to characterize large-area field electron emitters (LAFEs) is the characteristic apex field enhancement factor γC. This parameter is normally extracted from the slope of a Fowler-Nordheim (FN) plot. Several years ago, the development of an “orthodoxy test” allowed a sample of 19 published FN plots relating to LAFEs to be tested, and it was found that about 40% of the related papers were reporting spuriously high values for γC. In technological papers relating to LAFE characterization, the common practice is to preconvert the measured voltage into an (apparent) value of the macroscopic field before making and analyzing an FN plot. This paper suggests that the cause of the “spurious field enhancement factor value” problem is the widespread use of a preconversion equation that is defective (for example, not compatible with ordinary electrical circuit theory) when it is applied to so-called “nonideal” field emission devices/systems. Many real devices/systems are nonideal. The author argues that FN plots should be made using raw experimental current-voltage data, that an orthodoxy test should be applied to the resulting FN plot before any more-detailed analysis, and that (in view of growing concerns over the reliability of published “scientific” results) reviewers should scrutinize field emission materials characterization papers with enhanced care.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Forbes, Richard G.R.Forbes@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 12 August 2019
DOI : 10.1116/1.5111455
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 08 Nov 2019 14:43
Last Modified : 08 Nov 2019 14:43
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/853092

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