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The Review of scientific instruments

A miniature metal-ceramic x-ray source for spacecraft instrumentation.


PMID 11542818

Abstract

Definitive mineralogical identification of materials with x-ray diffraction and fluorescence on remote planetary probes requires the development of a rugged miniature x-ray source that complies with the mass, power, thermal, and electrical management constraints imposed by space missions. Conventional x-ray tubes are generally fragile, glass-envelope designs with heat-sensitive seals. They are too brittle and bulky for planetary missions, and usually require cumbersome and power-consuming cooling systems. Here we describe the development of a novel, rugged miniature x-ray source employing a ceramic BeO substrate upon which a metal target material is deposited. Conventional thermionic emission and high-voltage acceleration of electrons to strike the metal target material produce an x-ray yield comparable to conventional x-ray tubes. Thermal management of the x-ray source is achieved with the excellent heat transport properties of the BeO target substrate coupled with a passive heatpipe.

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202770
Beryllium oxide, 99.98% trace metals basis
BeO