In radiology X-ray tubes can be found at the heart of many diagnostic imaging techniques. A key component in X-ray tubes is the cathode (X-ray emitter). Its purpose is to generate electrons, which are accelerated to the anode by high voltage and penetrate the anode material. The electrons are decelerated in the process and generate the X-ray beam.
The material properties and the design of the X-ray emitter are decisive for the intensity and quality of the focal point. The X-ray emitters used in modern radiology are mainly made of special tungsten alloys. With the help of an ultrashort pulse laser these hard and brittle alloys can be machined with degrees of precision of a few microns.
The precision and reproducibility of these comparatively small components with their dimensions of only a few millimeters are decisive for the functionality and life span of the entire tube. Particularly with such complex and sophisticated devices, the reliability of the individual components is of major importance.
Because the ultrashort pulse laser allows reproducible and damage-free cutting on an extremely minute scale, it is a technique that is predestined for the manufacture of such crucial components in X-ray tubes.