Table of Contents
ISRN Nanomaterials
Volume 2014, Article ID 879827, 23 pages
Review Article

Carbon Nanotube Electron Sources: From Electron Beams to Energy Conversion and Optophononics

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4

Received 12 August 2013; Accepted 10 September 2013; Published 5 February 2014

Academic Editors: J. Bai, O. Ersen, and G. Zhong

Copyright © 2014 Alireza Nojeh. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Carbon nanotubes have a host of properties that make them excellent candidates for electron emitters. A significant amount of research has been conducted on nanotube-based field-emitters over the past two decades, and they have been investigated for devices ranging from flat-panel displays to vacuum tubes and electron microscopes. Other electron emission mechanisms from carbon nanotubes, such as photoemission, secondary emission, and thermionic emission, have also been studied, although to a lesser degree than field-emission. This paper presents an overview of the topic, with emphasis on these less-explored mechanisms, although field-emission is also discussed. We will see that not only is electron emission from nanotubes promising for electron-source applications, but also its study could reveal unusual phenomena and open the door to new devices that are not directly related to electron beams.