A particle-in-cell simulation of the high-field effect in devices with micrometer gaps
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Devices with micrometer and submicrometer gaps can face a serious challenge due to electrical breakdown during manufacturing, handling, and operation. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of the breakdown voltage at different gaps. Since the Paschens law is not valid for gaps smaller than several micrometers, modified Paschen curve should be used to predict breakdown voltage for microdevices. One of the possible mechanisms responsible for the reduction of the maximum operation voltage at small gaps is the field emission (FE). In this paper, particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo collision simulations, including the ejection of electrons from the cathode due to a high electric field, have been carried out to estimate the significance of the FE effect on the breakdown voltage in microgaps.