High-performance field-emission properties of boron nitride nanotube field emitters

Ki Nam Yun, Yuning Sun, Jun Soo Han, Yoon Ho Song, Cheol Jin Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) have attracted considerable attention as a field emission material because of their high mechanical strength, high negative electron affinity, and high oxidation resistance. Nevertheless, the obtained field-emission properties of BNNTs have indicated poor emission performance, which is a very high turn-on electric field with a low emission current. We fabricated BNNT field emitters and investigated their field-emission properties. The field-emission properties of the BNNT field emitters were considerably enhanced compared to those of other BN nanomaterial-based field emitters. The turn-on and the threshold electric fields of the BNNT field emitter were 3.1 and 5.4 V/μm at the gap distance of 750 μm, respectively. Both the turn-on and the threshold electric fields of the BNNT field emitters were decreased by increasing the gap distance between the emitter tip and the anode electrode. Degradation of the emission current during field emission operation for 20 h showed no significant difference according to the gap distance. Emission current fluctuation of the BNNT field emitters showed that the smaller gap was more unstable than the larger gap. The enhanced emission properties are mainly attributed to the small diameter, high-quality, and straight structure of BNNTs as well as the stable network formation of the BNNT film with good mechanical and electrical contact between the BNNTs and the cathode electrode. The remarkable emission performance of the BNNT field emitters might have promising applications for various field-emission devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1562-1568
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by BK21 Plus Humanware Information Technology, ETRI R&D program (grant 15ZE1140) and the Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • Boron nitride nanotubes
  • Cold cathode
  • Current fluctuation
  • Emission stability
  • Field emission
  • Field emitter
  • Turn-on field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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