What is Needed to Generate X-rays?

The generation of x-rays requires a Tungsten cathode and anode encased in a Pyrex glass vacuum tube.1,3,7 The cathode filament is used to generate electrons via thermionic emission and the anode is used as the target for the accelerated electrons. A step-up and a step-down transformer is used to transform the regular 110V alternating current to a high voltage at the level of the tube (more than 50 kV), and to a low voltage at the level of the filament (10 V), respectively.1,3,7

A focusing cup houses the cathode and helps in preventing the electrons from repelling each other away from the ligament and allows the stream of electrons from cathode to anode to be controlled. A dead-man switch timer is connected to the circuit and controls the time the electrons travel from the filament to the target (Figure 3).1,3,7

Figure 3. Schematics of an x-ray tube.
Schematics of an x-ray tube.