It is critical that products used in medical technology, particularly X-rays, provide superior performance and reliability.
Beryllium and X-Ray Applications
Due to its unusual combination of properties, beryllium is a high-performance material featured in commercial X-ray applications. Unlike most metals, beryllium has a low mass absorption coefficient, which means that it is highly transmissive, or transparent, to X-rays.
Most metals are high absorbers of X-rays and other forms of radiation, which makes making beryllium an ideal choice for in use as X-ray window material. A beryllium X-ray window is an opaque piece of metal, often in the form of relatively thin-gauge beryllium sheet or foil. It acts as a barrier between the vacuum or inert gas environment inside an X-ray source tube or detector and atmospheric conditions outside the device, while at the same time allowing X-rays to pass through it.
X-Ray Tubes and Detectors
In an x-ray source tube, beryllium permits the x-rays generated within the tube to be transmitted externally so that they can be used for their intended purpose. Finally, in an X-ray detector, beryllium permits external x-rays to penetrate inside the instrument so that their presence can be recognized.
X-ray source tubes with beryllium windows are used in a variety of medical diagnostic applications, including bone densitometry, computed tomographic (CT) scanning, mammography and much more. Since the development of metal body tubes, the use of beryllium windows in medical tubes has become more prominent.
Additionally, Materion Corporation beryllium oxide ceramic is a critical component in equipment that is used as a source of hard x-rays, and high-energy electron beams that drive x-ray devices in medical diagnostic equipment. This equipment is used in MRI and CT scanners to provide high resolution diagnostic imagery.
New applications for beryllium oxide ceramics can also be found in critical life-saving technologies such as portable defibrillator machines.
We strive to provide our customers with high-quality performance products that meet their specific needs.
We manufacture our commercial X-ray window products based on our customers’ end uses. Beryllium foil - in the shape of discs, rectangles or arc segments - is joined to the window subassemblies by epoxy bonding, electron beam welding, brazing or diffusion bonding. Each technique has its own specific purpose.
The low cost approach of epoxy bonding can only be used in low temperature applications without intense radiation, such as X-ray detectors. On the other hand, diffusion bonding is used in many X-ray source tubes as a high volume production method for window subassemblies that must withstand high heat in the manufacturing process, high radiation levels and many cycles of high heat load during use.
Other processing may be done to the window, such as applying a metallic coating, to act as a transmission window. Or, protective coatings, such as BR-127 or parylene, may be applied to the window to protect it from harsh environments. The specific method of manufacture and any additional processing depends on the end use.
Dedicated to the Medical X-ray Devices Market
Customized solutions and dependable results are just the beginning for your X-ray equipment needs; contact Materion Corporation to learn more about our medical X-ray device services, products and technologies.