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Carbon Nanotube Field Emission and its Applications to Space Exploration

Harish Manohara


Carbon nanotube research at JPL has predominantly focused on developing high performance electron field emission sources. These sources when integrated with micromachined structures, either monolithically or via hybrid methods, produce microsystems that are conducive for space exploration. Efficient electron sources are the fundamental components of- (i) vacuum microelectronic devices to develop radiation-insensitive, extreme environment withstanding electronics, (ii) miniature vacuum tube sources for high frequency applications, and (iii) multiple analytical instruments to perform elemental and mineralogical analyses. This talk will cover the development of high current density carbon nanotube field emitters, and some of their applications especially to vacuum electronics. A new topic of vacuum electronics based programmable logic gates- “Digital” Vacuum Electronics- for extreme environment applications will also be introduced.


Dr. Harish Manohara is a member of the Principal Technical Staff and a Group Supervisor of the Nano and Micro Systems (NAMS) group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. He obtained a bachelor of engineering in Instrumentation Technology from the Bangalore University (India) in 1989 followed by a master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and a doctoral degree in Engineering Science in 1992 and 1997 respectively from the Louisiana State University. He served as a member of the research faculty at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices in Baton Rouge, LA until 2000, after which he joined JPL’s Submillimeter Wave Advanced Technology group where he developed advanced components for THz applications using carbon nanotubes and MEMS technologies. Since 2005 he has been leading the Nano and Micro Systems group focusing on the development of cold cathodes, vacuum microelectronic devices, microsensors for extreme environment, and miniature analytical instruments. He is a recipient of JPL’s Lew Allen award for technical excellence, and several NASA Space Act awards. He has more than twenty inventions, and over 50 research publications to his credit.

Harish Manohara Headshot
Harish Manohara
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
EEB 105
3 Apr 2012, 10:30am until 10:30am