NANORAY is an innovative device capable to generate X-rays by means of a novel concept of cold cathode, based on carbon nanotubes selectively grown upon ad-hoc synthesized nanostructures (such as vertically oriented nanotubes on metallic tips, selected deposition of CNTs on predetermined areas and array of oriented bundles). Its performances can be wrapped up by mentioning some of the most relevant features:
1. A reduced focal spot (down to 0.1 mm, well below the actual state of art for commercial X-Ray tubes;
2. A very low power consumption (due to the use of a field-emission based cathode);
3. A pulsed x-ray radiation with programmable width and repetition;
4. A long life-time.
Moreover, the system is portable, with an overall weight of less than 5 kg (including power supply), allowing the use of X-rays in places like ambulances or in field security surveys. In addition to portability and easiness to use, the system provides higher image resolution with respect to the state of the art of X-rays devices thanks to the smaller focal spot, and it represents a cost effective solution for everyone is facing the economic issues related to the maintenance of thermionic cathodes.Therefore, instead of using thermionic emission from a hot filament to eject the required electrons, NANORAY proposes the implementation of field emission based cold cathode, using as electron source suitable architectures/array of carbon nanotubes.
The use of nanotube field-emitters in X-ray source design not only prolongs the lifetime of such sources, but also — by reducing the size of the source tube and the power supply required to drive it — lead to portable X-ray diagnostic systems for in the field use.