A method of electronic refrigeration based on resonant Fowler-Nordheim emission is analyzed. In this method, a bulk emitter is covered with a-few-nm-thick film of a widegap semiconductor, creating an intermediate step between electron energies in the emitter and in vacuum. An external electric field tilts this potential profile, forming a quantum well at the semiconductor-vacuum boundary. Alignment of its lowest two-dimensional subband with the energy of the hottest electrons of the emitter (a few kBT above the Fermi level) leads to a resonant, selective emission of these electrons, providing emitter cooling. Calculations show that cooling power of at least 30 W/cm2, and temperatures down to 10 K may be achieved using this effect. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.