A process for fabricating a nanofilament field emission device. The process enables the formation of high aspect ratio, electroplated nanofilament structure devices for field emission displays wherein a via is formed in a dielectric layer and is self-aligned to a via in the gate metal structure on top of the dielectric layer. The desired diameter of the via in the dielectric layer is on the order of 50-200 nm, with an aspect ratio of 5-10. In one embodiment, after forming the via in the dielectric layer, the gate metal is passivated, after which a plating enhancement layer is deposited in the bottom of the via, where necessary. The nanofilament is then electroplated in the via, followed by removal of the gate passification layer, etch back of the dielectric, and sharpening of the nanofilament. A hard mask layer may be deposited on top of the gate metal and removed following electroplating of the nanofilament.
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.