Wednesday, December 09, 2009

US Patent 7629604 - Nanoemitter field emission switch

While vacuum tubes have been replaced by transistors in most computer applications since the 1950's, high power devices still require some field emission switching devices. This patent is from Schlumberger Technology Corporation and teaches one variation of carbon nanotube field emitter switch. Claim 15 reads:

15. An apparatus comprising:

a support structure providing a support surface; and

a nano-switch mounted on the support surface, the nano-switch comprising:

a first electrode providing a surface angled with respect to the support surface,

a second electrode spaced apart from the first electrode,

nano-emitters provided on one or more of the first and second electrodes, and

a dielectric material between the first and second electrodes configured to break down upon application of a voltage between the first and second electrodes to provide a current flow path through the dielectric.