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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2014, Article ID 190232, 9 pages
Research Article

Field-Induced Electron Emission from Nanoporous Carbons

1Saint Petersburg State Polytechnic University, 29 Politekhnicheskaya, Saint Petersburg 195251, Russia
2Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, 26 Politekhnicheskaya, Saint Petersburg 194021, Russia

Received 12 July 2014; Accepted 17 November 2014; Published 7 December 2014

Academic Editor: Shiren Wang

Copyright © 2014 Alexander Arkhipov et al. 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.


Influence of fabrication technology on field electron emission properties of nanoporous carbon (NPC) was investigated. Samples of NPC derived from different carbides via chlorination at different temperatures demonstrated similar low-field emission ability with threshold electric field 2-3 V/m. This property correlated with presence of nanopores with characteristic size 0.5–1.2 nm, determining high values of specific surface area (>800 m2/g) of the material. In most cases, current characteristics of emission were approximately linear in Fowler-Nordheim coordinates (excluding a low-current part near the emission threshold), but the plots’ slope angles were in notable disagreement with the known material morphology and electronic properties, unexplainable within the frames of the classical emission theory. We suggest that the actual emission mechanism for NPC involves generation of hot electrons at internal boundaries and that emission centers may be associated with relatively large (20–100 nm) onion-like particles observed in many microscopic images. Such particles can serve two functions: to provide additional “internal” enhancement of the electric field and to inhibit relaxation of hot charge carriers due to the “phonon bottleneck” effect.