EP0234989B1 - Method of manufacturing an imaging device using field emission cathodoluminescence - Google Patents

Method of manufacturing an imaging device using field emission cathodoluminescence Download PDF

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Publication number
EP0234989B1
EP0234989B1 EP87400140A EP87400140A EP0234989B1 EP 0234989 B1 EP0234989 B1 EP 0234989B1 EP 87400140 A EP87400140 A EP 87400140A EP 87400140 A EP87400140 A EP 87400140A EP 0234989 B1 EP0234989 B1 EP 0234989B1
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EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
coating
process according
production process
characterized
holes
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired - Lifetime
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EP87400140A
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP0234989A1 (en
Inventor
Michel Borel
Jean-François Boronat
Robert Meyer
Philippe Rambaud
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Commissariat a lEnergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
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Commissariat a lEnergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
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Priority to FR8601024A priority patent/FR2593953B1/en
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Publication of EP0234989A1 publication Critical patent/EP0234989A1/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01JELECTRIC DISCHARGE TUBES OR DISCHARGE LAMPS
    • H01J9/00Apparatus or processes specially adapted for the manufacture, installation, removal, maintenance of electric discharge tubes, discharge lamps, or parts thereof; Recovery of material from discharge tubes or lamps
    • H01J9/02Manufacture of electrodes or electrode systems
    • H01J9/022Manufacture of electrodes or electrode systems of cold cathodes
    • H01J9/025Manufacture of electrodes or electrode systems of cold cathodes of field emission cathodes
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01JELECTRIC DISCHARGE TUBES OR DISCHARGE LAMPS
    • H01J31/00Cathode ray tubes; Electron beam tubes
    • H01J31/08Cathode ray tubes; Electron beam tubes having a screen on or from which an image or pattern is formed, picked up, converted, or stored
    • H01J31/10Image or pattern display tubes, i.e. having electrical input and optical output; Flying-spot tubes for scanning purposes
    • H01J31/12Image or pattern display tubes, i.e. having electrical input and optical output; Flying-spot tubes for scanning purposes with luminescent screen
    • H01J31/123Flat display tubes
    • H01J31/125Flat display tubes provided with control means permitting the electron beam to reach selected parts of the screen, e.g. digital selection
    • H01J31/127Flat display tubes provided with control means permitting the electron beam to reach selected parts of the screen, e.g. digital selection using large area or array sources, i.e. essentially a source for each pixel group

Description

  • The present invention relates to a method of manufacturing a display device by cathodoluminescence excited by field emission or cold emission. It applies in particular to the production of simple matrix displays, allowing the viewing of fixed images, and to the production of complex multiplexed screens, allowing the viewing of moving images, of the television image type.
  • A display device by cathodoluminescence excited by field emission has been described in document EP-A 0 172 089 which belongs to the state of the art within the meaning of Article 54 (3) EPC. In Figure 1, there is shown an exploded perspective view of the display device described in this document.
  • This display device comprises a display cell 2, sealed and evacuated, comprising two glass walls 4 and 6, located opposite one another. The lower wall 6 of the cell 2 is equipped with a first series of conductive strips 8, mutually parallel, playing the role of cathodes and a second series of conductive strips 10, parallel to each other, playing the role of grids. The conductive strips 10 are oriented perpendicular to the conductive strips 8 and isolated from the conductive strips 8 by an insulating and continuous layer 12, in particular made of silica.
  • The extreme regions 9 of the cathodes 8, not covered with insulation and not intercepting the grids 10, allow electrical contact to be made on the cathodes.
  • The conductive strips 8 and 10 respectively represent columns and rows. Each crossing of a line and a column corresponds to an elementary display point 14.
  • The conductive strips or grids 10 and the insulating layer 12 are pierced with a large number of holes 16 in which are housed microemitters or electron microchannels. Each elementary display point 14 corresponds to a multitude of micro-transmitters.
  • These microemitters, as shown in FIG. 2, each consist of a metal cone 18 emitting electrons when a suitable electric field is applied to them. These metal cones 18 rest by their base directly on the cathodes 8 and the top of these cones is substantially at the level of the conductive strips 10. The base diameter of the cones and their height are for example of the order of 1 lim.
  • The upper wall 4 of the cell 2, as shown in FIG. 1, is provided with a continuous conductive layer 20 acting as an anode. This anode 20 is covered with a layer 22 made of a material emitting light when it is subjected to an electronic bombardment coming from the microemitters 18.
  • The emission of electrons by a microemitter 18 can be achieved by simultaneously polarizing the cathode 8 and the grids 10 located opposite, as well as the anode 20. The anode 20 can in particular be brought to ground, the grids 10 are , either brought to the potential of the anode, or negatively polarized with respect to the latter using a voltage source 24. The cathodes 8 are negatively polarized with respect to the grid using a source voltage 26. The cathodes 8 and the grids 10 can be polarized sequentially in order to make appear a point-by-point image on the display cell 2. The image is observed from the side of the upper wall 4 of the cell.
  • The number of microemitters 18 per display point 14, that is to say by crossing a cathode and a grid, is generally high, which makes it possible to have a more uniform emission characteristic of one display point to another (average effect); this gives a certain redundancy of the microemitters making it possible to tolerate a certain proportion of microemitters not functioning.
  • In practice, the number of microemitters is between 10 4 and 10 5 transmitters per mm 2 . Consequently, traditional manufacturing, requiring precise positioning of the microemitters facing the cathodes and grids, would be complex and would increase the cost of the display device.
  • The object of the present invention is precisely a relatively simple and inexpensive method for manufacturing a display device operating by cathodoluminescence excited by field effect as described above.
  • More specifically, the subject of the invention is a method of manufacturing a display device by cathodoluminescence cited by field effect which comprises the following successive steps:
    • - deposit of a first conductive layer on an insulating substrate,
    • - etching of the first layer to form first parallel conductive strips playing the role of cathodes,
    • - deposit of a second insulating layer on the structure obtained,
    • - deposit of a third conductive layer on the second layer,
    • - hole openings in the third layer opening into the second and first layers, these holes being distributed over the entire surface of the third layer,
    • - deposit on the third etched layer with a fourth layer neither covering nor covering the holes,
    • - deposit on the whole structure obtained of a fifth layer of an electron-emitting material which also penetrates into the holes to the bottom of these,
    • elimination of the fourth layer resulting in the elimination of the electron-emitting material surmounting said fourth layer and the retention of said emitter material in the holes,
    • - etching of the third and second layers to expose at least one of the ends of the first conductive strips,
    • - etching of the third layer to form second parallel conductive strips acting as grids, the first and second strips being crossed, and
    • - Production of an anode and a layer of cathodoluminescent material opposite the second conductive strips.
  • By "holes distributed over the entire surface", it is necessary to understand holes made opposite the cathodes as well as opposite the inter-cathode spaces.
  • This method has the advantage of simple implementation. In particular, it allows the production of electron microemitters in the holes formed in the second and third layers, distributed over the entire display device, without requiring precise positioning with respect to the cathodes and grids. Only microemitters located at an intersection of a cathode and a grid are effectively active.
  • In order to improve the adhesion of the cathode conductors to the insulating substrate, an insulating intermediate layer is advantageously interposed between the substrate and the first conductive layer, in which the cathodes are made.
  • In order to minimize the resistance to access to the microemitters, the first conductive layer must be made of a material that conducts electricity well. Furthermore, this first conductive layer must have good compatibility with the second insulating layer and in particular good adhesion and must be inert with respect to the etching method of this second insulating layer. Advantageously, the first conductive layer is made of a material chosen from indium oxide, tin oxide and aluminum. Indium oxide and tin oxide are preferably used for producing screens of small dimensions and of low complexity such as screens used for viewing still images. On the other hand, aluminum is preferably used when producing complex multiplexed screens and of large dimensions used in particular for viewing animated images of the television image type.
  • In order to minimize the capacitances between the cathodes and the grids, and therefore to minimize the response time of the microemitters, the second insulating layer must have as low a dielectric constant as possible. To this end, this second insulating layer is preferably made of silicon oxide (Si0 2 ) or silica.
  • This silicon oxide layer can be deposited by the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique, by sputtering or by vacuum evaporation. However, the chemical vapor deposition technique is preferably used, a technique which makes it possible to obtain an oxide layer of uniform quality and of constant thickness.
  • The opening of the holes in the insulating layer, in particular of silicon oxide, can be carried out by dry or wet etching techniques well known to those skilled in the art.
  • The third conductive layer in which the grids are formed must be made of a material having good adhesion to the second insulating layer, for example made of silicon oxide, as well as good chemical resistance to the various products used to make the microemitters. To this end, the third conductive layer is preferably made of a metal chosen from niobium, tantalum and aluminum.
  • In order to reproducibly obtain holes in this third conductive layer, of a size close to one micron, the formation of these holes is advantageously carried out by an anisotropic dry etching technique.
  • In order to ensure a good definition of the microemitters, the fourth layer playing the role of mask for the deposition of the fifth layer is made of metal and in particular nickel. The deposition of this fourth layer of nickel is advantageously carried out by evaporation under vacuum at a grazing incidence so as not to cover the holes made in the second and third layers. Furthermore, the elimination of this metallic layer is advantageously carried out by electrochemical dissolution.
  • The choice of the material of the fifth layer is essentially dictated by these properties with respect to the emission by field effect or cold emission as well as by its chemical resistance to the techniques of deposition and elimination of the fourth layer serving the production of microemitters. In particular, the electron-emitting material can be hafnium, niobium, molybdenum, zirconium, lanthanum hexaboride (LaB s ), titanium carbide, tantalum carbide, hafnium carbide, carbide zirconium, etc. We choose for example molybdenum.
  • Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will emerge more clearly from the description which follows, given by way of illustration and not limitation.
  • The description refers to the appended figures in which:
    • FIG. 1, already described, schematically represents, in perspective and exploded view, a display device by cathodoluminescence,
    • FIG. 2, already described, represents an enlarged part of FIG. 1, showing a microemitter,
    • - Figures 3 to 12 illustrate the different steps of the method according to the invention, Figures 3 to 6 and 10 to 12 are general views and Figures 7 to 9 enlarged views showing a micro-transmitter.
  • With reference to FIG. 3, the cleaning of the lower substrate 6 is first of all carried out in order to obtain good flatness and a good surface condition to allow optimized production of the microemitters. The substrate 6 can be a glass or ceramic plate. On the substrate 6, a layer of silicon oxide (Si0 2 ) 7 of approximately 100 nm is then deposited by sputtering. The insulating layer 7 is then covered with a conductive layer 8a of indium oxide in which the cathodes 8 will be produced. This layer of indium oxide has a thickness of 160 nm, and can be deposited by sputtering.
  • Then formed by conventional photolithography processes (deposition, irradiation, development) a positive resin mask 11 representing the image of the cathodes to be produced. Through this mask 11, the layer of indium oxide 8a is etched to form, as shown in FIG. 4, cathodes 8 0.7 mm wide at a pitch P of 1 mm. The etching of the layer 8a is carried out by chemical attack with orthophosphoric acid brought to 110 ° C. The etching of the layer of indium oxide 8a is carried out over the entire thickness of the layer. The resin mask is then removed by chemical dissolution. 1 0
  • On the structure obtained, that is to say on the cathodes 8 and the exposed regions of the insulating layer 7, the silicon oxide layer 12 is then deposited, as shown in FIG. 5, by the technique chemical vapor deposition from silane, phosphine and oxygen gases. This oxide layer 12 has a thickness of 1 li m. The oxide layer 12 is then completely covered with a conductive layer 10a in which the grids will be produced subsequently. 20 this layer 10a is deposited by vacuum evaporation. It has a thickness of 0.4 µm and is made of niobium.
  • A resin mask 13 is then formed on the conductive layer 10a by the conventional photolithography methods 25 (resin deposition, irradiation, development). This resin mask 13 represents the positive image of the holes to be produced in the grid layer 10a and the insulating layer 12.
  • According to the invention, no precise positioning of these holes is necessary given their high number. As does one sends a resist mask 13 having openings 15 distributed over the entire surface of the mask, especially in regions 17 located outside the zones 14 Reserved 35 to the display (display elementary points defined in cathodes and grids). This facilitates the production of the photomask 19 used for the exposure 21 of the resin 13 as well as its positioning above the structure. 40
  • Next, through the resin mask 13 in FIG. 6, the holes 16 are made in the layer of grid material 10a and the insulating layer 12. These holes 16 pass right through the layers 10a and 12. The etchings of layers 10a and 12 are produced successively. The etching of the layer 10a is carried out by a reactive ion etching (GIR) process using a sulfur hexafluoride plasma (SF 6 ). The holes 16 made in the conductive layer 10a have a diameter equal to 50 1.31 μm to ± 0.1 μm. The holes in the silica layer 12 are produced, for example by chemical attack by immersing the structure in an attack solution of hydrofluoric acid and ammonium fluoride. Next, the resin mask 55 is chemically removed 55. The profile of the holes 16 thus produced is illustrated in FIG. 7.
  • We will now describe the process for manufacturing a microemitter. On the layer 10a, pierced with the holes 16, firstly a layer of 60 nickel 23 is deposited by evaporation under vacuum at a grazing incidence relative to the surface of the structure; the angle a formed between the axis of evaporation and the surface of the layer 10a is close to 15 ° . The nickel layer 23 has a thickness of 150 nm. 6 5 This deposition technique makes it possible not to plug the holes 16.
  • Next, as shown in FIG. 8, a layer of molybdenum 18a is deposited on the entire structure. This layer 18a has a thickness of 1.8 μm. It is deposited under normal incidence relative to the surface of the structure; this deposition technique makes it possible to obtain cones 18 of molybdenum housed in the 1 holes 16 having a height of 1.2 to 1.5 μm. The nickel layer 23 is then selectively dissolved by an electrochemical process so as to release, as shown in FIG. 9, the perforated niobium layer 10a and to reveal the 15 electron-emitting microtips 18.
  • Is then carried out as shown in Figure 10 etching the layer 10a and an etching of the insulating layer 12 in order to disengage the ends 9 of the cathode 8 to allow a later 20 ment the electrical contacting of these cathodes. This etching is carried out through a resin mask (not shown), obtained according to conventional photolithography methods, the resin forming the mask must have a sufficiently high viscosity 25 in order to cover all the holes 16 formed in the niobium layer 10a and the silicon oxide layer 12. the etching of the niobium layer 10a is performed as above by a reactive ion etching process 30 and the etching of the silica layer 12 by etching.
  • A resin mask 25 is then produced on the structure obtained representing the image of the grids 10 to be produced in the niobium layer 10a. This mas- 35 as resin is formed using conventional photolithography methods. Then carried out, through the mask 25, a dry etching of the reactive ionic type with SF 6 so as to release the conductive strips 10 perpendicular to the 40 conductive strips 8. The resin mask 25 is then removed by chemical attack. The structure obtained after elimination of the mask 25 is that shown in FIG. 11.
  • On the other hand, on a glass substrate 45 4, as illustrated in FIG. 12, a conductive layer 20 is made of indium oxide (In 2 0 3 ) or tin oxide (Sn0 2 ) by sputtering corresponding to the anode of the display cell 2. This layer 20 has a thickness of 50 of the order of 100 nm. The anode 20 is then covered with a cathodoluminescent layer 22 by sputtering. This layer 22 is made of zinc oxide and has a thickness of 1 wm.
  • The substrate 4 covered with the anode 20 and the cathodoluminescent material 55 is then presented above the grids 10. A space of 30 to 50 μm is maintained between the cathodoluminescent material 22 and the grids 10 by means of spacers glass 27 randomly distributed. The periphery of the anode 20 is hermetically welded to the lower part of the cell, by means of a fusible glass 29. The assembly obtained is then placed under vacuum.
  • The above description has of course been given as an example, any modification May 6 tion without departing from the scope of the invention, that can be considered. In particular, the thickness and the nature of the layers can be modified. In addition, some engravings and deposition techniques can be changed.
  • The various stages of the process of the invention have the advantage of being simple to implement and are well mastered by those skilled in the art, which allows good reproducibility and homogeneity in obtaining display devices. Furthermore, the fact of producing the transmitters on the whole of the cell without precise positioning with respect to the cathodes and the grids, makes the manufacture of the display device particularly easy.

Claims (11)

1. Process for the production of a display means by field effect-excited cathodoluminescence, which comprises the successive stages of depositing a first conductive coating (8a) on an insulating substrate (6), etching the first coating (8a) to form first parallel conductive strips (8) serving as cathodes, depositing a second insulating coating (12) on the structure obtained, depositing a third conductive coating (10a) on the second coating (12), making holes (16) in the third coating (10a) issuing into the first (8) and second (12) coatings, making said holes being distributed over the entire surface of the third coating, depositing on the third etched coating (IDa) a fourth coating (23) not covering or blocking the holes, depositing on the complete structure obtained a fifth coating (18a) of an electron emitting material which also penetrates into the bottom of the holes, eliminating the fourth coating (23) leading to elimination of the electron emitting material surmounting said fourth coating and maintaining said emitting material in the holes, etching third (10a) and second (W) coatings to expose at least the ends (9) of the first conductive strips (8), etching the third coating (10a) to form second parallel conductive strips serving as grids (10), the first and second strips intersecting and producing a facing anode (20) and cathodoluminescent material coating (22) from the second conductive strips (10).
2. Production process according to claim 1, characterized in that an insulating intermediate coating (7) is placed between the substrate (6) and the first coating (8a).
3. Production process according to claims 1 or 2, characterized in that the first coating (8a) is made from a material chosen from among indium (II) oxide, tin dioxide and aluminium.
4. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 3, characterized in that the second coating (12) is of silicon dioxide (Sio2).
5. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the second coating (12) is deposited by chemical vapour phase deposition.
6. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the third coating (10a) is made from a metal chosen from among niobium, tantalum and aluminium.
7. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 6, characterized in that the holes (16) are formed in the third coating (10a) by anisotropic dry etching.
8. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the fourth coating (23) is made from nickel and in that said fourth coating (23) is eliminated by electrochemical dissolving.
9. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 8, characterized in that the fourth coating (23) is deposited by vacuum evaporation under a glancing incidence (a) with respect to the surface of the structure.
10. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 9, characterized in that the fifth coating (18a) is obtained by vacuum evaporation of molybdenum.
11. Production process according to any one of the claims 1 to 10, characterized in that the anode (20) is formed from a continuous conductive coating, covered with a continuous cathodoluminescent material coating (22), the anode (20) being deposited on a transparent insulating support (4).
EP87400140A 1986-01-24 1987-01-21 Method of manufacturing an imaging device using field emission cathodoluminescence Expired - Lifetime EP0234989B1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
FR8601024 1986-01-24
FR8601024A FR2593953B1 (en) 1986-01-24 1986-01-24 Method for producing a display device by cathodoluminescence excited by field emission

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EP0234989A1 EP0234989A1 (en) 1987-09-02
EP0234989B1 true EP0234989B1 (en) 1990-09-05

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US (1) US4857161A (en)
EP (1) EP0234989B1 (en)
JP (1) JPH07111869B2 (en)
DE (1) DE3764668D1 (en)
FR (1) FR2593953B1 (en)

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US4857161A (en) 1989-08-15
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