X-rays, which are widely used in medicine, fetoscopy, and many other areas, are usually obtained by special vacuum devices called X-ray tubes. Inside these tubes, electrons accelerate with high electrical potential and collide with a metal anode. The energy of dispersed electrons is transferred to metal atoms, which pass into an excited state, there is a complex vibrational process that generates the flow of radiation in the X-ray range.
Unfortunately, the flow of the radiation created spreads evenly in all directions, and the properties of X-rays significantly complicate the task of their focus and formation of a narrow directional beam, moreover, the front of the pulse of X-ray radiation in most cases has a completely random form. However, physicists from the University of Goettingen have developed a new principle of X-ray radiation generation, which allows you to get a beam directed in a strictly defined direction.
At the heart of the new technology is a structure of three materials with completely different electronic characteristics. And the thickness of such a three-layer "sandwich" is only a few millionths of a millimeter.
An object made of such a thin multi-layered material is installed instead of a metal anode in a conventional X-ray tube. The X-ray parameters can be controlled during the production phase of the multi-layered anode by changing the order of alternation and thickness of the layers of different materials. "X-rays are then generated and sent in parallel to layers of the anode that act as a waveguide, as a fiber for light, for example," the researchers write.
Using calculations of the most complex mathematical models, taking into account different variants of the structure of the multi-layered anode, physicists have already found ways to increase the efficiency of the X-ray generator. "According to our calculations, the effect can be increased and we will get X-rays of greater brightness at the exit", - write the researchers - "This will soon transfer to the walls of laboratories those experiments that could previously be produced only on large accelerators, such as synchrotron in Hamburg."