We reported the fabrication and the field emission properties of two-tier novel silicon nanostructures. First, silicon nanopillars with ordered high aspect ratio were achieved by using conventional lithographic techniques to act as the field emission sources. Second, sharp-edged well-aligned silicon nanograss was fabricated on top of the nanopillars by means of hydrogen plasma dry etching to induce the field emission characteristics. The turn-on fields were obtained as 10.5 and 14.4 V/mu m under current density of 0.01 mA/cm(2) for two-tier patterns separated by respective 5 mu m and 2 mu m spaces. The excellent field emission property from these novel nanostructures exhibited a great potential as high-performance field emitter arrays towards future nanoelectronic devices. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.