Brian Wang writes of news about "carbon nanotube as field emitters
The original paper is described in this abstract in Applied Physics Letters: ON-CHIP VACUUM MICROTRIODE. Integrated, solid-state design had many advantages over the old vacuum-tube style electronics. But some of the tube characteristics, such as the ability to handle high power, might be nice to have on a chip. With carbon nanotubes, acting as miniature emitters of electrons, this might be possible (See Update 454, http://www.aip.org/enews/physnews/1999/split/pnu45 4-2.htm). A new innovation in this regard is the development of an on-chip system of vacuum triodes. Scientists at Agere Systems (a company spun off from Lucent Technologies) build their chip using microelectromechanical (MEMS) technology; a lateral field of carbon nanotubes is grown on a cathode which can then be rotated into a vertical position in order to face a grid (10 microns away) and anode (100 microns away). Radar, electronic warfare, and satellite communications are expected to be the chief applications areas. (Bower et al., Applied Physics Letters, 20 May 2002)"