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This project targets the development of novel pocket X-ray sources and X-ray direct detectors that will be combined in a distributed network to solve important tasks, for example in the field of security, by ensuring reliable and real-time monitoring of failure sensitive parts in large manufacturing plants or in public transportation.
The miniaturized X-ray sources are based on multi-wall carbon nanotube (CNT) cold electron emitters and advanced microsystems technology. The electron field emission properties of CNTs, with their high current densities, make them prime candidates for cold emitter cathodes. Using CNT cold electron emitters will make it possible to miniaturize the whole X-ray source. Additionally, as opposed to classical thermionic emission, field electron emission of the CNT is voltage-controlled which allows for high modulation frequencies up to GHz level. The X-ray direct detectors in turn are based on crystalline germanium absorption layers grown directly on a CMOS sensor chip yielding high resolution and high sensitivity X-ray detectors. Single photon detection will allow for a significant improvement of contrast for applications in security, health care and nondestructive testing.