IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology

RADIATION PROTECTION IN DIAGNOSTIC AND INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY

L 6: X Ray production

IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency

Introduction
A review is made of: • The main elements of the of X Rays tube: cathode and anode structure • The technology constraints of the anode and cathode material • The rating charts and X Ray tube heat loading capacities
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6: X Ray production

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Topics
• • • • • •
Basic elements of an X Ray source assembly Cathode structure Anode structure Rating chart X Ray generator Automatic exposure control

IAEA

6: X Ray production

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Overview
• To become familiar with the technological
principles of the X Ray production

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6: X Ray production

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IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Part 6: X Ray production Topic 1: Basic elements of an X Ray source assembly IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency .

Basic elements of the X Ray source assembly • Generator : power circuit supplying the required potential to the X Ray tube • X Ray tube and collimator: device producing the X Ray beam IAEA 6: X Ray production 6 .

X Ray tubes IAEA 6: X Ray production 7 .

X Ray tube components • Cathode: heated filament which is the source of the electron beam directed towards the anode • tungsten filament • Anode (stationary or rotating): impacted by electrons. emits X Rays • Metal tube housing surrounding glass (or metal) X Ray tube (electrons are traveling in vacuum) • Shielding material (protection against scattered radiation) IAEA 6: X Ray production 8 .

X Ray tube components housing cathode 1: mark of focal spot IAEA 1: long tungsten filament 2 : short tungsten filament 3 : real size cathode 6: X Ray production 9 .

IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Part 6: X Ray production Topic 2: Cathode structure IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency .

Cathode structure (I) • Cathode includes filament(s) and associated circuitry • tungsten material : preferred because of its high melting point (3370°C) • slow filament evaporation • no arcing • minimum deposit of W on glass envelope • To reduce evaporation the emission temperature of the cathode is reached just before the exposure • in stand-by. temperature is kept at ± 1500°C so that 2700°C emission temperature can be reached within a second IAEA 6: X Ray production 11 .

Example of a cathode IAEA 6: X Ray production 12 .

Cathode structure (I) • • Modern tubes have two filaments • • • • • a long one : higher current/lower resolution a short one : lower current/higher resolution Coulomb interaction makes the electron beam divergent on the travel to the anode lack of electrons producing X Rays larger area of target used focal spot increased  lower image resolution Focalisation of electrons is crucial ! IAEA 6: X Ray production 13 .

IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Part 6: X Ray production Topic 3: Anode structure IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency .

X Ray tube characteristics • Anode mechanical constraints • • • • Material : tungsten.000 to 10. rhenium. molybdenum.000 revolutions/minute) • Thickness ⇒ mass and material (volume) ⇒ heat capacity • Anode thermal constraints • Instantaneous power load (heat unit) • Heat loading time curve • Cooling time curve IAEA 6: X Ray production 15 . graphite Focal spot : surface of anode impacted by electrons Anode angle Disk and annular track diameter (rotation frequency from 3.

Anode angle (I) • The Line-Focus principle • Anode target plate has a shape that is more rectangular or ellipsoidal than circular • the shape depends on : • filament size and shape • focusing cup’s and potential • distance between cathode and anode • This conflict is solved by slanting the target face IAEA • • Image resolution requires a small focal spot Heat dissipation requires a large spot 6: X Ray production 16 .

Anode characteristic 1 : anode track 2 : anode track IAEA 6: X Ray production 17 .

Anode angle (II) θ Angle θ ‘ Angle Incident electron beam width Actual focal spot size Incident electron beam width Apparent focal spot size Film Actual focal spot size Increased apparent focal spot size Film THE SMALLER THE ANGLE THE BETTER THE RESOLUTION IAEA 6: X Ray production 18 .

Anode heel effect (I) • Anode angle (from 7° to 20°) induces a variation of the X Ray output in the plane comprising the anode-cathode axis • Absorption by anode of X photons with low emission angle • The magnitude of influence of the heel effect on the image depends on factors such as : • anode angle • size of film • focus to film distance • Anode aging increases heel effect IAEA 6: X Ray production 19 .

Anode heel effect (II) • The heel effect is not always a negative factor • It can be used to compensate for different attenuation through parts of the body • For example: • thoracic spine (thicker part of the patient towards the cathode side of the tube) • mammography 6: X Ray production IAEA 20 .

4 mm nominal • Small focal spot size ⇒ reduced tube output (longer exposure time) • Large focal spot allows high output (shorter exposure time) • Balance depends on organ movement (fast moving organs may require larger focus) IAEA 6: X Ray production 21 .Focal spot size and imaging geometry • Focal spot finite size ⇒ image unsharpened • Improving sharpness ⇒ small focal spot size • For mammography focal spot size ≤ 0.

IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Part 6: X Ray production Topic 4: Rating Chart IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency .

35 kV x mA x s HU = 1.41 kV x mA x s 23 6: X Ray production . tube current (mA). 12 pulse: IAEA HU = kV x mA x s HU = 1. 6 pulse : • 3 phase units. length of exposure • type of voltage waveform • number of exposures taken in rapid sequence • • Heat Unit (HU) [joule] : unit of potential x unit of tube current x unit of time The heat generated by various types of X Ray circuits are: • 1 phase units : • 3 phase units.Heat loading capacities • A procedure generates an amount of heat depending on: • kV used.

X Ray tube rating chart (I) • Tube cooling characteristics and focal spot size  {mA .time} relationship at constant kV • intensity decreases with increasing exposure time • intensity increases with decreasing kV • Note: higher power  reduced exposure time  reduced motion unsharpness IAEA 6: X Ray production 24 .

0. 120 kV procedure comply with the technical characteristics of the system operated from a 3-phase fully rectified generator (acceptable) IAEA 6: X Ray production 25 .1 s. 90 kV procedure would damage the system operated from a 1-phase half wave rectified generator (unacceptable) • Tube B: a 200 mA. 0.5 s.X Ray tube rating chart (II) • Manufacturers combine heat loading characteristics and information about the limits of their X Ray tubes in graphical representations called Tube Rating Charts • Example: • Tube A: a 300 mA.

0 9 70 kV p 120 k 0 kVp Vp Unacceptable 50 kVp Exposure time (s) IAEA 6: X Ray production 26 .1 0.0 5.0 10.0 mm effective focal spot 700 600 Tube current (mA) 500 400 300 200 100 0.01 0.5 1.05 0.X Ray tube rating chart (III) X Ray tube A 1 φ half-wave rectified 3000 rpm 90 kV 1.

5 1.0 Exposure time (s) IAEA 6: X Ray production 27 .01 0.000 rpm 125 kV 1.1 70 kV p 90 kV p 125 kV p X Ray tube B 3φ full-wave rectified 10.0 5.05 0.0 10.X Ray tube rating chart (IV) 700 Tube current (mA) 600 500 400 300 200 100 0.0 mm effective focal spot Unacceptable 50 kV p Acceptable 0.

it will take ≈ 5 min to cool down completely IAEA 6: X Ray production 28 .Anode cooling chart (I) • Heat generated is stored in the anode.000 HU. and dissipated through the cooling circuit • A typical cooling chart has: • input curves (heat units stored as a function of time) • anode cooling curve • The following graph shows that: • a procedure delivering 500 HU/s can go on indefinitely • if it is delivering 1000 HU/s it has to stop after 10 min • if the anode has stored 120.

Anode cooling chart (II) 240 Maximum Heat Storage Capacity of Anode HU 00 10 500 Heat units stored (x 1000) 220 200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 c /se ec Imput curve /s HU U/ 350 H sec ec 250 HU/s Co oli ng c urv e 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 IAEA Elapsed time (min) 6: X Ray production 29 .

IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Part 6: X Ray production Topic 5: X Ray generator IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency .

X-ray generator (I) It supplies the X-ray tube with :  Current to heat the cathode filament  Potential to accelerate electrons  Automatic control of exposure (power application time)  Energy supply ≈ 1000 × X-ray beam energy (of which 99.9% is dissipated as thermal energy) IAEA 6: X Ray production 31 .

5 to 3 6: X Ray production 32 IAEA . Un . I . T • • • • U: peak voltage (kV) I: mean current (mA) T: exposure time (ms) n: ranging from about 1.X-ray generator (II) • Generator characteristics have a strong influence on the contrast and sharpness of the radiographic image • The motion unsharpness can be greatly reduced by a generator allowing an exposure time as short as achievable • Since the dose at the image plane can be expressed as: D = k0 .

Um )/U] x 100% in 6: X Ray production 33 .X-ray generator (III) • Peak voltage value has an influence on the beam hardness • It has to be related to medical question • What is the anatomical structure to investigate ? • What is the contrast level needed ? • For a thorax examination : 140 .150 kV is suitable to visualize the lung structure • While only 65 kV is necessary to see bone structure • The ripple “r” of a generator has to be as low as possible IAEA r = [(U .

Tube potential wave form (I) • Conventional generators • • • • single φ single φ three φ three φ 1-pulse (dental and some mobile systems) 2-pulse (double rectification) 6-pulse 12-pulse • Constant potential generators (CP) • HF generators (use of DC choppers to convert 50Hz mains into voltages with frequencies in the kHz range)  “Inverter technology” IAEA 6: X Ray production 34 .

Tube potential wave form (II) kV ripple (%) 100% 13% Three phase 6-pulse 4% Three phase 12-pulse Single phase single pulse Single phase 2-pulse Line voltage 0.02 s IAEA 6: X Ray production 35 .01 s 0.

high power up to 150 kW IAEA 6: X Ray production 36 . medium and high power (manual or automatic compensation for voltage drop) • 12-pulse : uses two shifted 3-phase system.The choice of the number of pulses (I) • Single pulse : low power (<2 kW) • 2-pulse : low and medium power • 6-pulse : uses 3-phase mains.

The choice of the number of pulses (II) • CP : eliminates any changes of voltage or tube current • high voltage regulators can control the voltage AND switch on and off the exposure • voltage can be switched on at any moment (temporal resolution) • kV ripple <2% thus providing low patient exposure • HF : combines the advantages of constant potential and conventional generator • reproducibility and consistency of tube voltage • high frame rate possible IAEA 6: X Ray production 37 .

IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Part 6: X-ray production Topic 6: Automatic Exposure Control (AEC) IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency .

mA) • Radiation detector behind (or in front of) the film cassette (with due correction) • Exposure is terminated when the required dose has been integrated • Compensation for kVp at a given thickness • Compensation for thickness at a given kVp IAEA 6: X Ray production 39 .Automatic exposure control • Optimal choice of technical parameters in order to avoid repeated exposures (kV.

Automatic exposure control X Ray tube Collimator Beam Soft Air tissue Bone Patient Table Grid AEC detectors Cassette IAEA 6: X Ray production 40 .

Automatic exposure control • Optimal choice of technical parameters in order to avoid repeated exposures (kV. mA) • Radiation detector behind (or in front of) the film cassette (with due correction) • Exposure is terminated when the required dose has been integrated • Compensation for kVp at a given thickness • Compensation for thickness at a given kVp IAEA 6: X Ray production 41 .

IAEA Training Material on Radiation Protection in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Part 6: X-ray production Topic 7: X-ray equipment operation and mode IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency .

continuous output of 300 500 W • • • • IAEA output : 50 kW at 1.0 focus size for spot film output : 30 kW at 0.70 kW at 1. AEC Radiography and Fluoroscopy • Under couch equipment.0 focus spot size • selection of kV and mAs .3 focus spot size • output : 50 .X-ray equipment operation mode and application (II) Radiography and Tomography • Single and 3 φ generators (inverter technology) • output : 30 kW at 0. three φ generator (inverter technology) .6 for fluoroscopy (high resolution) priority given to contrast automatic settings of kV 6: X Ray production 43 .

three phase generator (inverter .continuous output ≥ 1kW • output : 30 kW @ 0.6 focus size for spot film output : 70 kW @ 1.0 for fluoroscopy (high resolution) priority given to contrast automatic settings of kV • Cardiac angiography • Three phase generator .X-Ray equipment operation mode and application (III) • Radiography and Fluoroscopy technology) • Over couch equipment.4 focus size • output : 80 kW @ 0.8 focus size • frame rate : up to 120 fr/s IAEA 6: X Ray production 44 .continuous output of at least 500 W • • • • output : 40 kW @ 0.

Summary • The main parts of the system contributing to the desired X Ray production: • provide the required source of power • deliver an appropriate X Ray spectrum • ensure the optimum adjustment of exposure to warrant the image quality IAEA 6: X Ray production 45 .

Forster.Where to Get More Information • Equipment for diagnostic radiology. 1993 • IPSM Report 32. MTP Press. Williams and Wilkins. E. part 1. Baltimore:1994 • Manufacturers data sets for different X Ray tubes IAEA 6: X Ray production 46 . X-ray tubes and generators • The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging.

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