Dissertation Talk: Design and Applications of Portable Field Emission Devices

Seminar | October 28 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | 400 Cory Hall

 Nishita Deka

 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)

Vacuum tubes were integral to the rise of electronics in the 20th century, enabling the development of many core technologies. Although vacuum tubes have since been superseded by solid-state technology, devices based on electron transport in vacuum offer some unique technical advantages over their solid-state counterparts. An interest in leveraging these performance advantages has led to the emergence of vacuum microelectronics - a field that uses modern microfabrication techniques to develop micrometer-scale vacuum-based devices, or field emission devices.

In this talk, I will discuss the design and development of fully integrated on-chip field emission devices that can operate in ambient conditions. I will then show how the unique features of these devices can be exploited to address limitations in existing technologies, with a focus on high voltage devices to drive MEMS actuators. Next, I will show how novel nanomaterials can be integrated with field emission devices to create portable electron sources, with applications ranging from ion thrusters for microrobotics to portable mass spectrometers. Finally, I will discuss the implications of these studies in the use of field emission devices alongside solid-state technology to not only address the limitations faced by solid-state devices, but also enable entirely new applications in electronics.