Electron emission represents the key mechanism enabling the development of devices that have revolutionized modern science and technology. Today, science still relies on advanced electron-emission devices for imaging, electronics, sensing, and high-energy physics. New generations of emission devices are continuously being improved based on innovative materials and the introduction of novel physical concepts. Recent advances are highlighted by emerging low-work-function and low-dimensional materials with unusual electronic and thermal properties. Nanotubes, nanowires, graphene, and electron-emission models are discussed in this issue, as well as original mechanisms, such as the thermoelectronic effect, thermionic emission, and heat trap processes. Advances in electron-emission materials and physics are driving a renaissance in the field, both opening up new applications, such as energy conversion and ultrafast electronics, as well as improving traditional applications in electron imaging and high-energy science.