Nanomaterial-based x-ray sources

Matthew T. Cole, Richard J. Parmee, William I. Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


Following the recent global excitement and investment in the emerging, and rapidly growing, classes of one and two-dimensional nanomaterials, we here present a perspective on one of the viable applications of such materials: field electron emission based x-ray sources. These devices, which have a notable history in medicine, security, industry and research, to date have almost exclusively incorporated thermionic electron sources. Since the middle of the last century, field emission based cathodes were demonstrated, but it is only recently that they have become practicable. We outline some of the technological achievements of the past two decades, and describe a number of the seminal contributions. We explore the foremost market hurdles hindering their roll-out and broader industrial adoption and summarise the recent progress in miniaturised, pulsed and multi-source devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number082501
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2016


  • carbon nanotubes
  • electron emission
  • field emission
  • nanomaterials
  • x-ray sources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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