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Project Brief

Flat Panel X-ray Sources

Develop a flat panel X-ray source (FXPS) of up to a square meter in size, allowing continuous X-ray emission for sterilization of medical products, mail and food; and the digital addressing of X-ray pixels to enable improved and new medical imaging modalities.

Sponsor: Stellarray, Inc. (formerly Stellar Micro Device Inc)

2020m Centimeter Circle
Austin, TX 78758
  • Project Performance Period: 11/1/2007 - 10/31/2009
  • Total project (est.): $2,421,052.00
  • Requested ATP funds: $1,989,297.00

X-ray sources have applications in many fields but the commercial technology for producing them has not fundamentally changed since Wilhelm Roentgen invented the X-ray tube more than a century ago. In the classical X-ray tube, a hot filament cathode generates a cloud of electrons from which current is extracted by a grid and accelerated in a vacuum at high voltage toward a metal target. The classical X-ray tube is a point source where the X-ray flux from one small point on the target has to do all of the work in the intended application (medical imaging, lithography, etc.). The proposed flat panel X-ray source (FXPS) emits current in a vacuum from arrays of thin-film, field-emission cold cathodes patterned on sapphire, quartz or other X-ray transmissive materials. X-rays are generated from the entire broad surface of the target. This makes the FXPS a panel source, able to continuously irradiate a very wide area, which would be especially useful for sterilizing foods, mail and other items. Alternatively, when the individual electron emitters, or groups of them, are addressed through separate cathodes and gates, the panel could produce narrow, precisely focused and pixilated beams for use in low-dosage, three-dimensional medical imaging and low-cost microchip lithography.

For project information:
Mark Eaton, (512) 997-7781

ATP Project Manager
Carlos Grinspon, (301) 975-4448

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