Products and Services

Meiden completes development of cold-cathode X-ray tube using carbon nanostructures for downsizing X-ray inspection system


Meidensha Corporation (Meiden) will start selling a cold-cathode X-ray tube using carbon nanostructures, an X-ray generating component that will make inspection system smaller, lighter and more energy-efficient, in October 2019. The company has commercialized this product after conducting basic research and product development since 2014.

Conventional, bulky hot cathode X-ray tubes used for such devices inevitably made X-ray inspection devices considerably large and heavy, therefore limiting their usage. Downsizing such devices with the use of Meiden’s new product is expected to expand their application to such purposes as large-scaled piping facility as well as to baggage inspection at stations and event venues.

Difficulties in the production process previously prevented cold-cathode X-ray tube using carbon nanostructures from being put on the market. To complete the new product, Meiden applied vacuum technology (variable mechanism for vacuum capacitors and Vacuum sealing method uses specialized high vacuum ovens) nurtured during its development and production of vacuum capacitors for manufacturing semiconductors. The applied technology has been patented.

Meiden will enter the non-destructive inspection market with the new product. The company plans to increase the product lineup to meet market demand and thereby contribute to proliferating small X-ray inspection system. Furthermore, Meiden will expand its electronic products business by boosting growth in new business areas and generating new business in line with its basic policy stipulated in Medium-Term Management Plan 2020.

*This product uses technologies of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Life Technology Research Institute, Inc. Meiden has sealed a patent licensing contract with the two institutes to produce and sell the product.

About cold-cathode X-ray tube using carbon nanostructures

A cold-cathode X-ray tube using carbon nanostructures uses a cold cathode with an electron source coming from carbon nanostructures. The electron source emits field electrons from the carbon nanostructure’s tip. Unlike conventional hot cathode X-ray tubes, in which electrons are emitted when tungsten filament is heated, this product does not require filament heating, therefore making it smaller, lighter and more energy-efficient.

The field electron emission method allows the instant irradiation of X-rays when needed, which can reduce the dose of x-ray equipment and can extend the life of x-ray tube. According to a Meiden study, the product is smaller than half the size of conventional hot cathode products and thus expected to downsize and lighten X-ray inspection system.

Photos of cold-cathode X-ray tube using carbon nanostructures (Nominal tube voltage of 120kV, Nominal tube current of 1mA)

Conceptual image of how the product is used)

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