A method for sharpening field emitter tips by electroetching/polishing. In gated field emitters, it is very important to initiate electron emission at the lowest possible voltage and thus the composition of the emitter and the gate, as well as the emitter-gate structure, are important factors. This method of sharpening the emitter tips uses the grid as a counter electrode in electroetching of the emitters, which can produce extremely sharp emitter tips as well as remove asperities and other imperfections in the emitters, each in relation to the specific grid hole in which it resides. This has the effect of making emission more uniform among the emitters as well as lowering the turn-on voltage.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.