A study of field emission from semiconductors

  • David E. Sykes

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In an attempt to clarify the behaviour of semi-conductor field emitters the properties of a narrow band gap material were investigated. A retarding potential analyser was built and tested using a tungsten emitter. The energy distribution of electrons emitted from single crystals of lead telluride (band gap 0.3 eV) and gallium phosphide (band gap 2.26 eV) were measured. The halfwidths of the distributions are discussed with respect to the relevant parameters for the materials. Methods of tip preparation had to be developed.
The halfwidth of the energy distribution of electrons field emitted from carbon fibres was measured to be 0.21 ± 0.01 eV. A mechanism explaining the long lifetime of the emitters in poor vacuua is proposed.
Date of AwardMar 1975
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorErnest Braun (Supervisor)


  • field emission
  • semiconductors

Cite this