Video: Nanoengineered electron guns

June 20, 2014, University of Cambridge

In this video we see an electron gun made of many thousands of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, each more than 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Dr Matt Cole, from the University of Cambridge, explains the technological importance of exploiting emerging nanomaterials to engineer functionally novel X-ray sources.

"Thanks to recent progress in growth we can now engineer materials at the scale of individual atoms.

This image, taken with an electron microscope, shows a nanoengineered electron gun formed from many carbon nanotubes that have been grown to be vertically aligned.

Electron guns are central to almost all commercial X-ray sources. They may be found in border control, food and pharmaceuticals inspection, electronics validation and medical diagnostics. Despite being so widespread, most systems use emitters that are inefficient because they have to be run at high temperatures.

Patterned by a process called high resolution , carbon nanotubes are made of rolled and concentrically nested graphite; where each tube is over one thousand times smaller than a .

Nanoengineered electron gun. Credit: Matt Cole

More than a century old, bombardment-based X-ray sources have experienced little technological development. The use of one and two-dimensional nanomaterials - such as nanotubes, nanowires and single-atom thick graphene-like materials - have the potential to modernise this stagnated technology by producing longer lasting, increasingly stable emitters. In the future, these advanced emitters will facilitate the emergence of a host of new X-ray technologies such as micro-cancer treatment, high-throughput roll-to-roll manufacturing, and real-time three-dimensional imaging."

Explore further: High-performance, low-cost ultracapacitors built with graphene and carbon nanotubes

Related Stories

Observing the random diffusion of missing atoms in graphene

May 30, 2014

Imperfections in the regular atomic arrangements in crystals determine many of the properties of a material, and their diffusion is behind many microstructural changes in solids. However, imaging non-repeating atomic arrangements ...

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

April 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like graphene and carbon ...

Novel method to make nanomaterials discovered

February 24, 2012

Researchers at the NanoScience Center of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and at Harvard University, have discovered a novel way to make nanomaterials. Using computer simulations, the researchers have been ...

Recommended for you

Flexible color displays with microfluidics

August 16, 2018

A new study published on Microsystems and Nanoengineering by Kazuhiro Kobayashi and Hiroaki Onoe details the development of a flexible and reflective multicolor display system that does not require continued energy supply ...

Twisted electronics open the door to tunable 2-D materials

August 16, 2018

Two-dimensional (2-D) materials such as graphene have unique electronic, magnetic, optical, and mechanical properties that promise to drive innovation in areas from electronics to energy to materials to medicine. Columbia ...

Scientists discover why silver clusters emit light

August 16, 2018

Clusters of silver atoms captured in zeolites, a porous material with small channels and voids, have remarkable light-emitting properties. They can be used for more efficient lighting applications as a substitute for LED ...

Novel sensors could enable smarter textiles

August 16, 2018

A team of engineers at the University of Delaware is developing next-generation smart textiles by creating flexible carbon nanotube composite coatings on a wide range of fibers, including cotton, nylon and wool. Their discovery ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.