A process method and system for making field emission cathodes exists. The deposition source divergence is controlled to produce field emission cathodes with height-to-base aspect ratios that are uniform over large substrate surface areas while using very short source-to-substrate distances. The rate of hole closure is controlled from the cone source. The substrate surface is coated in well defined increments. The deposition source is apertured to coat pixel areas on the substrate. The entire substrate is coated using a manipulator to incrementally move the whole substrate surface past the deposition source. Either collimated sputtering or evaporative deposition sources can be used. The position of the aperture and its size and shape are used to control the field emission cathode size and shape.
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.