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Title:
HIGH RESOLUTION CATHODE STRUCTURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/010387
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention relates to a triode type cathode structure of an FED screen arranged in rows and columns, comprising a first lower metallisation level forming cathodes (20), an electrical insulating layer, a second higher metallisation level forming extraction grids (10, 12), openings (21) formed in the second metallisation level and in the electrical insulating layer, lines of electron emission means (22) arranged in these openings, characterised in that the said lines are parallel to the direction of the rows of the screen.

Inventors:
DIJON JEAN (FR)
MEYER ROBERT (FR)
LEVY FRANCOIS (FR)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2004/052666
Publication Date:
February 02, 2006
Filing Date:
October 26, 2004
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COMMISSARIAT ENERGIE ATOMIQUE (FR)
DIJON JEAN (FR)
MEYER ROBERT (FR)
LEVY FRANCOIS (FR)
International Classes:
H01J3/02; H01J31/12; (IPC1-7): H01J3/02; H01J31/12
Domestic Patent References:
WO2003071571A12003-08-28
WO1994015352A11994-07-07
Foreign References:
US20030193296A12003-10-16
US20020185964A12002-12-12
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 1998, no. 01 30 January 1998 (1998-01-30)
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Poulin, Gérard (3 rue du Docteur Lancereaux, Paris, FR)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Triode type cathode structure of an FED screen arranged in rows and columns, comprising a first lower metallisation level forming cathodes (4, 20) , an electrical insulating layer (6), a second higher metallisation level forming extraction grids (10, 12), openings (21) formed in the second metallisation level and in the electrical insulating layer, lines of electron emission means (22) arranged in these openings, characterised in that the said lines are parallel to the direction of the rows of the screen.
2. Cathode structure according to claim 1, the openings (21) including one or several grooves parallel to the direction of the rows of the screen.
3. Cathode structure according to claim 2, the emission means being placed on pads (22) arranged in each groove.
4. Cathode structure according to one of claims 1 to 3, a resistive layer (2) being inserted between the first metallisation level (4, 20) and lines of electron emission means (22) .
5. Cathode structure according to one of claims 1 to 4, in which the rows and columns define pixels, grids (10) being in the form of bands parallel to the direction of the rows on the screen and connected to each other, in each pixel, through at least one grid conductor (12) .
6. Cathode structure according to claim 5, the grids being connected by grid conductors (11) , with each pair of adjacent conductors laterally delimiting a pixel.
7. Cathode structure according to claim 5, the grids being connected by grid conductors, each of these grid conductors (31) being located on the axis of symmetry of a pixel in the direction of the columns.
8. Cathode structure according to claim 5, the grids being connected by grid conductors, several grid conductors (41) being located in each pixel, in the direction of the columns .
9. Cathode structure according to claim 8, a grid conductor passing between two adjacent electron emission means in the same line.
10. Cathode structure according to claim 9, a grid conductor passing between two adjacent electron emission means in the same line, for every pair of adjacent emission means in the same line of emission means and for all lines.
11. Cathode structure according to one of claims 7 to 10, in which at least one pixel does not contain a lateral grid conductor.
12. Cathode structure according to one of claims 1 to 11, in which the electron emitters are based on nanotubes or nanofibres made of carbon or silicon.
13. Screen, particularly of the FED type, comprising a cathode structure according to one of claims 1 to 12.
14. A method for making a triode type cathode structure of an FED screen arranged in rows and columns, comprising: forming cathodes (4, 20) in a first lower metallisation level, forming an electrical insulating layer (6), and a second higher metallisation level, opening said second metallisation level and said electrical insulating layer, so as to form grids in said second metallization level, forming lines of electron emission means (22) arranged in these openings, said lines being parallel to the direction of the rows of the screen.
15. A method according to claim 14, comprising forming a resistive layer (2) .
16. A method according to claim 14 or 15, said second metallisation level and said electrical insulating layer being etched.
17. A method according to any of claims 14 to 16, catalyst pads being deposited in said openings, said electron emission means being grown on said pads.
18. A method according to any of claims 14 to 17, said electron emission means comprising nanotubes or nanofibres made of carbon or silicon.
19. A method according to claim 18, said nanotubes or nanofibres being formed using a CVD process .
20. A method according to any of claims 14 to 19, said electon emission means being added at the bottom of said openings.
21. A method according to any of claims 14 to 20, the openings (21) including one or several grooves parallel to the direction of the rows of the screen.
22. A method according to claim 21, the emission means being placed on pads (22) arranged in each groove.
23. A method according to any of claims 14 to 22, said rows and columns defining pixels, said grids being formed as bands parallel to the direction of the rows on the screen and being connected to each other, in each pixel, through at least one grid conductor (12) .
24. A method according to claim 23, said grids being connected by grid conductors (11) , with each pair of adjacent conductors laterally delimiting a pixel.
25. A method according to claim 23, said grids being connected by grid conductors, each of these grid conductors (31) being located on the axis of symmetry of a pixel in the direction of the columns.
26. A method according to claim 23, said grids being connected by grid conductors, several grid conductors (41) being located in each pixel, in the direction of the columns.
27. A method according to claim 26, a grid conductor passing between two adjacent electron emission means in the same line.
28. A method according to claim 27, a grid conductor passing between two adjacent electron emission means in the same line, for every pair of adjacent emission means in the same line of emission means and for all lines.
29. A method according to one of claims 25 to 28, in which at least one pixel does not contain a lateral grid conductor.
30. A method of forming a screen, particularly of the FED type, comprising forming a cathode structure according to one of claims 14 to 29.
Description:
HIGH RESOLUTION CATHODE STRUCTURE

DESCRIPTION

TECHNICAL DOMAIN AND PRIOR ART

The invention relates to the domain of emissive cathodes and their application to the manufacture of screens . It is particularly applicable to the manufacture of screens based on carbon nanotubes . The resolution of a screen is an important element affecting the display quality of this screen and partly controls the type of applications for which the device can be used. Moreover, at a given resolution, ease of manufacturing is an important element affecting the manufacturing cost . FED screens based on carbon nanotubes use cathode structures with geometries with fairly large tolerances, which contributes to their low manufacturing cost. FED screens are composed of rows and columns, the intersection of a row and a column defining a pixel. Data to be displayed are brought simultaneously onto the columns. Each row is scanned one after the other, to address the entire screen. The structure of a triode type cathode 1, as described in document FR 2836279, is shown in Figures IA and IB. It comprises: a first metallisation level 4 forming the cathodes arranged in the direction of the columns in the screen. This first level (lower level) supports an optional resistive layer 2, for example made of silicon that improves the uniformity of the emission, - an insulation 6 (for example silica) between the resistive layer and a second metallisation level 10. This metallisation level 10 (high level) corresponds to the screen control grids that extract electrons. These grids are arranged in the direction of the screen columns. Grid conductors 12, located at the same level as the grids 10, connect the grids to each other and to a main grid conductor 11 arranged in the direction of the rows on the screen. Similarly, cathode conductors 13 on the same level as the cathodes 4, connect the cathodes to each other (Figure IB) . Emission means, for example carbon nanotubes 14, are located on the resistive layer in a groove 16. This groove 16 is an opening made in the grids and the insulation layer 6. Typically, the width of a groove 16 is about 15 μm, and the grids are arranged with a pitch of the order of 25 μm as indicated in figure IA. The grooves 16 are arranged in the direction of the columns on the screen, as illustrated in figure IB, with the grids 10 and cathodes 4. The divergence of the emitted electron beam defines the overlap δ with respect to the phosphorus area located on the anode (Figure 2) . The colour pitch P that defines the screen resolution is typically twice the overlap in the direction of the rows. This is the case particularly when colour phosphores are arranged in a strip parallel to the columns. In the case of the structure described in Figures IA and IB, this overlap is typically of the order of 240 μm for an anode - cathode distance of 1 mm and an anode voltage of 3 kv, which leads to 1.4 mm colour pixels. This type of resolution is compatible with large screens, but prevents use in high definition screens (1000 lines) , for example with a 50 cm diagonal. Therefore, the problem arises of finding a new screen structure capable of improving the resolution while maintaining an intrinsic simplicity of the cathode described in Figure IA.

PRESENTATION OF THE INVENTION The invention relates firstly to a triode type cathode structure of an FED screen arranged or addressed in rows and columns, comprising a first lower level of metallisation forming cathodes, an electrical insulating layer, a second higher metallisation level forming extraction grids, openings formed in the second metallisation level and in the electrical insulating layer, lines of electron emission means arranged in these openings, said lines being parallel to the direction of the rows of the screen. According to the invention, the structure is rotated by 90° compared with known structures, in other words the grooves in which the emission means are positioned are parallel to the direction of the lines. The result is that the beam overlap is considerably improved. The parallel rows or grids contribute to creating a divergent field structure in the direction perpendicular to the direction of the grids. However, the electrical field component parallel to the rows forming grids is practically zero. Therefore, the invention also relates to a triode type cathode structure of an FED screen arranged or addressed in rows and in columns, comprising a first lower metallisation level forming cathodes, an electrical insulating layer, a second higher metallisation level forming extraction grids, openings formed in the second metallisation level and in the electrical insulating layer, and row conductors, said openings being arranged parallel to the extraction grids and to the row conductors . The openings may include one or several grooves parallel to the direction of the rows . The rows and columns define pixels, the grids may be in the form of bands parallel to the direction of the rows on the screen and connected to each other, in each pixel, through at least one grid conductor. The grids may also be connected by grid conductors, with each pair of adjacent conductors laterally delimiting a pixel. The grids may also be connected by grid conductors, each of these grid conductors being located on the axis of symmetry of a pixel in the direction of the columns . A grid conductor may pass between two adjacent electron emission means in the same line, for any pair of electron emission means in the same line. Grids may also be connected by grid conductors, several connecting conductors being located in each pixel, in the direction of the columns. Preferably, in this case pixels do not contain a lateral grid conductor, so that electrical disturbances due to these lateral conductors can be eliminated. Electron emitters are preferably based on nanotubes or nanofibres made of carbon or silicon. The invention further concerns a method for making a triode type cathode structure of an FED screen arranged in rows and columns, comprising: forming cathodes in a first lower metallisation level, - forming an electrical insulating layer, and a second higher metallisation level, - forming openings in said second metallisation level and in said electrical insulating layer, forming lines of electron emission means arranged in these openings, said lines being parallel to the direction of the rows of the screen. Said method may further comprise forming a resistive layer, over said first metallization level. Said openings can be etched in said second metallisation level and in said electrical insulating layer. Catalyst pads can be deposited in said openings, said electron emission means being grown on said pads . Said electron emission means can for example comprise nanotubes or nanofibres made of carbon or silicon, for example formed using a CVD process. As a variant, said electron emission means can be added at the bottom of said openings .

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES - Figures IA, IB and 2 show a cathode structure according to prior art, Figures 3, 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B show cathode structures according to the invention, - Figure 6A and 6B show structures according to prior art and according to the invention respectively.

DETAILED PRESENTATION OF PARTICULAR EMBODIMENTS A first example embodiment of a structure according to the invention is illustrated in figure 3 that shows a pixel in an emitter device-. It is a monochrome pixel, also called a sub-pixel of a colour pixel (a colour pixel comprises 3 monochrome pixels (1 for the red, 1 for the green and 1 for the blue) ) . The basic elements of this structure (first metallisation level, resistive layer, insulation, etc.) are obtained in the same way as in the case of the structure in Figure IA. In other words, a device according to the invention also comprises: a first metallisation level 4 that forms the screen cathodes (lower level) ; possibly a resistive layer 2 that improves the uniformity of the emission, is supported on the cathodes 4, for example this layer being made of silicon; insulation 6 between the resistive layer 2 and a second metallisation level 10, being used to make the control grids 10. The assembly forms a triode structure, with the anode (not shown in figure IA) . But unlike Figure IB, the grooves 21 in which the emission means are located, in this case the nanotubes, are arranged parallel to the direction of screen rows in the same way as the grids 10 and cathodes 4. The grids 10 are connected to each other through grid conductors 12 (in this case arranged in the direction of the columns) and connected to the main conductors of grid 11 that remain in the direction of the rows . The cathodes are formed by the lower metallisation level (level 4 in Figure IA) and are connected to each other by cathode conductors 20, arranged in the direction of the columns. In Figure 3, the pixel shown comprises three grooves parallel to the main grid conductors 11 and separated by the grids 10. More generally, a pixel may comprise n parallel grooves separated from each other by conductors arranged in row. A groove 21 comprises pads or islands 22 of electron emitting elements, also arranged along the direction of the rows of the screen. These emitting elements are electrically connected to cathodes 4 through the resistive layer 2 or possibly a metallic layer made over the entire surface of the substrate. The grids are arranged in the same direction as the grooves, parallel to the grid conductors. The arrangement of the emitting elements or means in lines parallel to the rows considerably improves the overlap of the beam. The grids 10, arranged parallel to the direction of the rows on the screen, contribute to creating a field structure divergent in the direction perpendicular to the direction of the grids (therefore perpendicular to the rows) . On the other hand, the electrical field component parallel to the grids (therefore parallel to the lines) is practically zero. This component would be absolutely zero if the grids 10 were infinitely long, due to symmetry. However, the emission means located at the ends of each of the grooves, will be subjected to a component of the divergent field, due to the grid conductors 12 connecting the grids. This situation can be improved using pixel structures described in Figures 4A - 5B. In the case of these figures, the lateral grid conductors 12 are eliminated and replaced by a central grid conductor 31 (Figures 4A, 4B) or several central grid conductors 41 (Figures 5A, 5B) . The grid conductors 10 stop at level of the location previously occupied by the lateral grid conductors 12, as illustrated in Figures 4A and 5A, or are prolonged above the location previously occupied by the lateral grid conductors 12 (Figures 4B and 5B) . Thus, the lateral grid conductors 12 can be eliminated for each pixel, thus also eliminating electrical disturbances caused by these lateral conductors . Divergence phenomena caused by the central grid conductors 31, 41 are less disturbing because they produce their effects within a single pixel (unlike the lateral grid conductors 12 in Figure 3, that can cause disturbances on adjacent pixels) . Furthermore, cathode conductors 20, at 0 V and located at the edge of the pixel, focus electrons towards the inside of the pixel. Therefore these configurations in Figures 4A, 4B and 5A, 5B are more favourable than the configuration in Figure 3. The variant in Figures 5A and 5B, with several central grid conductors 41, are tolerant to cut-off problems of the central conductor 31 in Figures 4A and 4B, due to the redundancy provided by the two central conductors 41. In these embodiments, a pixel comprises n parallel grooves separated from each other by grids arranged in the direction of the rows on the screen, each line also being separated in two (Figures 4A, 4B) or more than two (Figures 5A, 5B) segments or sectors by grid conductors 31, 41 connecting the said grids and arranged in the direction of the screen columns. It is even possible to have a grid conductor passing between two pads or islands of adjacent emitter elements in the same line or groove, and possibly for each line or groove. Figure 6A shows a structure of a sub-pixel according to prior art, comprising four rows of grids and three lines of nanotubes arranged between these grids. The direction of the columns is represented by the arrow in the top part of the figure. The size of the pads is 5 μm by 10 μm, the width 1 of the groove is 15 μm and the total width of the sub-pixel is L = 72 μm. With this structure, a lateral overlap δ in the direction of the rows equal to 240 μm was measured for an anode - cathode distance of 1 mm and an anode voltage of 3 kV. Figure 6B shows a portion of a structure according to the invention: nanotube grooves were turned over and are arranged perpendicular to the direction of the screen columns, namely in the direction of the screen rows. The sub-pixel comprises twelve parallel grooves (not all shown) arranged at a pitch of 24 μm (this is the pitch P shown in the figure) , each groove comprising three pads of 5 μm by 10 μm nanotubes. Under these conditions, with 3 kV on the anode and with an anode - cathode distance of 1 mm, the lateral overlap in the direction of the columns drops to only 150 μm. Regardless of the embodiment used, a device according to the invention may be made using vacuum deposition and photolithography techniques. For example, a cathode conductor may be obtained by deposition of a conducting material, for example molybdenum, chromium, niobium, or TiW, etc. This material may then be etched along a band to form cathodes arranged along the direction of the rows on the screen, and the conducting elements that connect them. Deposits can then be made, for example a deposit of a resistive layer, for example made of silicon, and a deposit of an insulating layer, for example made of silica, and finally a metallic layer that will form electrons extraction grids. The metallic layer and the insulating layer are then etched to form trenches or grooves that will be arranged along the direction of the rows of the screen, like the extraction grids. Catalyst pads adapted to growth of the electron emitting material (Ni, or Co, or Fe, or Mo, or Pt, or an alloy of these materials for the growth of nanotubes) may be deposited at the bottom of the grooves by "lift-off". This catalyst may be arranged on a barrier layer, for example made of TiN. If carbon nanotubes are used, they can be made using a thermal CVD process, for example using acetylene at a pressure of the order of 150 mTorr. As a variant, the nanotubes or more generally the electron emitter devices, may also be added at the bottom of the grooves . One device according to the invention also concerns a screen, particularly an FED type screen, comprising a high-resolution cathode device or structure like that described above according to the invention. Such a screen has for example a 50 cm diagonal.