Monday, September 15, 2008

Pilot Production of E-Beam On-a-Chip Carbon Nanotube Based Electron Source

Posted: September 15, 2008
Pilot Production of E-Beam On-a-Chip Carbon Nanotube Based Electron Source
(Nanowerk News) AIXTRON’s Black Magic system, a fully automatic deposition system capable of thermal and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) of CNTs is the equipment being used to manufacture the heart of El-Mul Technologies new E-Beam On-a-Chip platform, which demands precision placement and step repeatability of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
El-Mul’s recent achievement of pilot production for its E-Beam On-a-Chip CNT-based electron source device represents a paradigm shift for the industrial manufacture of electron sources.
“Our technological achievement requires a highly-controlled growth process of carbon nanotubes,” says Mr. Sagi Daren, El-Mul’s Nano Electron Source Project Manager. “The Black Magic systems’ rapid heater ensures that the metal catalyst we apply for growth stays precisely at the centre of the emitter structure, and plasma process deposits straight, vertical nanotubes. Our resulting fine-beam product achieves a divergence of ±5 degrees at 50 nA/120 eV beam current and is perfectly on-axis.” Daren adds: “The reproducibility, uniformity and quick turnaround of the Black Magic system have contributed greatly to our success in moving our E-Beam On-a-Chip towards commercial production. Thanks to these attributes, we are today approaching industrial yields, and will soon compete very effectively with conventional hand-made electron sources.”
“We are very pleased with El-Mul’s success”, says Ken Teo, Director of Nanoinstruments at AIXTRON. “Our growth technology exactly meets the requirements of device manufacturers with respect to flexibility, yield and control.”
E-Beam On-a-Chip utilizes the unique electrical and mechanical properties of CNTs, which make excellent cold field emission electron sources. El-Mul’s platform is a low-energy electron generator of well-characterized fine beams as well as high-current broad beams. It is aimed at bringing new capabilities to electron microscopy, gas ionization and X-ray tools, flat panel displays, sub-40 nm semiconductor manufacturing nodes, and other applications.
Traditionally, electron sources have been made individually and assembled entirely by hand. As the name suggests, El-Mul’s E-Beam On-a-Chip uses microelectronic-compatible processing to produce batched electron sources on semiconductor wafers. Benefits of the platform include parallel device production, scalability and small size, as well as micro precision in fabrication which eliminates many of the alignment issues.
More information on El-Mul’s E-Beam On-a-Chip platform can be found at
Information about El-Mul Technologies
El-Mul Technologies designs, integrates and manufactures electron and ion detectors for a wide variety of industries and research environments, and is recognized today as a leading solutions provider for nanotechnology toolmakers. El-Mul has pioneered nanoscale devices since 1999, with its E-Beam On-a-Chip next generation carbon nanotube-based electron beam source platform. El-Mul Technologies Ltd, a privately-held company, was founded in 1992 and maintains its headquarters in Yavne, Israel. Find more information at


CNT E-Beam Technology


E-Beam On-a-Chip™ development began in El-Mul’s research laboratory in 1999, and has been accompanied by ongoing innovations and nanoscale achievements. Our core technology is proprietary and fully protected by patents. El-Mul’s current R&D is primarily focused on product adaptation and commercialization.


Our technology exploits the outstanding field emission (FE) characteristics of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to produce industrial quality electron beam sources. Our process employs a stack of silicon, silicon oxide and conductive poly silicon layers. A cathode well is etched through the poly and oxide layers to the silicon substrate, using conventional semiconductor processing techniques, resulting in formation of a capacitor-like gating structure.

This structure is further processed to place either single or multiple CNTs in each well, depending on intended device specifications. The resulting proprietary, patented FE device:
  • Exhibits high brightness and narrow energy spread, with ability to control these characteristics during manufacture
  • Eliminates the need for high voltage (kV) levels, requiring energy of only tens of volts per emitter
  • Requires less stringent vacuum conditions than with conventional E-beam sources
  • Reduces ion-emitter interference
  • Performs ideally as SEM/TEM E-beam sources
  • Is fully scalable to create dense E-beam arrays for use in high throughput tools and processes
Current Capabilities

Our current generation E-Beam On-a-Chip™ technology can produce devices for well-characterized fine beam or for high current broad beam applications. The current product series is designated for OEM use only.

Contact us for product specifications and performance details.

Future Capabilities

We are developing E-Beam On-a-Chip™ technology as the keystone for generic MEMS-based system-on-chip packages that can be customized directly by a customer to meet the specific needs of their application.

Related Links

Recent News

Article: 'E-Beam On-a-Chip Technology for Next Generation Semiconductor Manufacturing Processes' (Technical Insights, Frost & Sullivan; May 2008 - Requires Sign-In)

Feature: 'In the Nanotech Jungle, a Tiger Awaits' (Nanotech Advantage Israel, August 2004)

Article: 'Carbon nanotube-based electron gun for electron microscopy' (Jrnl of Vac Sci & Tech A; Vol. 19, Issue 4, Jul/Aug 2001, pp 1790-1795)