An ion source includes a conductive substrate, the substrate including a plurality of conductive nanostructures with free-standing tips formed on the substrate. A conductive catalytic coating is formed on the nanostructures and substrate for dissociation of a molecular species into an atomic species, the molecular species being brought in contact with the catalytic coating. A target electrode placed apart from the substrate, the target electrode being biased relative to the substrate with a first bias voltage to ionize the atomic species in proximity to the free-standing tips and attract the ionized atomic species from the substrate in the direction of the target electrode.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 awarded by the United States Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California for management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The government has certain rights in this invention.