X-rays in Focus

X-rays in Focus: past, present and future

X-radiation (X-rays) is a form of electromagnetic radiation first discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895. However, it was Thomas Edison who developed the first commercial application for X-ray with medical radiography. Since then, many applications have been developed in the medical and industrial spheres. Amir Neeman focuses on the homeland and aviation security applications of X-rays in the past, in the present and in the future.

X-rays have a wavelength of 0.01 – 10 nanometres and energies of 100 eV – 100 keV – between UV and gamma radiation in wavelength – and are sometimes referred to as Röntgen radiation.

Early X-ray Systems

First generation X-ray systems were based on X-ray fluoroscopy, which is an imaging technique used to obtain real-time moving X-ray images of objects through the use of a fluoroscope. A fluoroscope consists of an X-ray source and fluorescent screen between which an object is placed. Modern fluoroscopes couple the screen with an X-ray image intensifier and a video camera, which allows the images to be recorded and played on a monitor. The initial fluoroscopic X-ray systems, however, did not use any image intensifiers and relied on the natural X-ray images. Fluoroscopic equipment is typically used in portable scanners that screen mail and small packages for explosive devices.