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BASIC CIRCUITRY  There are three types of timers

which are commonly used:

 X-ray machine employ many circuits for
synchronous, impulse, and
 Three of these circuits form the basis of all
 A synchronous timer is operated by
a synchronous motor. The usual
1. The primary or low voltage circuit
range of exposure time for this type
2. The secondary circuit
is 1/20 (0.5) seconds to 20 seconds
3. The filament or heating circuit
 Synchronous timers cannot be used
 However, all of the electricity used in
for serial exposures because they
operating the x-ray equipment is obtained
must be reset after each exposure
from a single source, the supply line
 An impulse is operated by impulses
PRIMARY CIRCUIT of current passing through the
timing circuit; there are 60 current
 The primary circuit supplies: impulses each second in half – wave
1. The transformer rectified equipment and 120 current
2. The primary side of the high voltage impulses each in full – wave rectified
transformer equipment
3. The timing circuit  The impulse timer is quite accurate
4. And many other low-voltage circuits
because the exposure is initiated
necessary for the operation of the x-
and terminated at or very close to
ray equipment the zero points of the alternating
 When the primary switch on the x-ray current cycle
machine control panel is closed (on), the
 Electronic timer are the most
following are activated by the primary sophisticated, and most accurate of
current varying from 10 to 100 amperes: the x-ray exposure timers
 Line voltage regulator and meter
 The electronic timer is operated by
 Autotransformer
means of a series of electronic tubes
 Pre reading voltmeter
and relays and is useful over a range
 Milliampere selector, and
of exposures. The minimum
 Filament transformer
exposure time is 1/30 second to 14
Line voltage regulator seconds is a common maximum
exposure time
 Is a part of the primary side of the  Because electronic timers can be
auto transformer and regulates the used for rapid serial exposures they
incoming voltage are particularly useful for
Line voltage meter angiointerventional procedure
 Most exposure timers are electronic
 Is in parallel with the supply line and and are controlled by a
shows the voltage delivered to the microprocessor
autotransformer  The mAs timer is a special king of
Circuit breaker electronic timer which monitors the
product of mA and exposure time
 The circuit breaker functions to and is terminates exposure when
ensure against overload of the the desired mAs value is attained
delicate equipment of the x-ray  The mAs timer is usually designed to
machine, since it may be set to break provide the highest safe tube
at any desired load; it is quite easily current for the shortest exposure for
reset any mAs selected
Timers (Exposure)  Because the mAs timer must
monitor the actual tube current, it is
 Are incorporated into the x-ray located on the secondary side of the
machine to initiate and to terminate high-voltage transformer
the exposure
 Automatic exposure control (AEC) is transformer by mutual induction from
a device that measures the quantity the primary voltage in the primary side
of radiation that reaches the image of this same transformer
receptor. It automatically  Since the secondary voltage is
terminates the exposure when the alternating, this power supply must be
image receptor has received the rectified prior to entering the x-ray tube,
required radiation intensity because the production of x-rays in the
 If the timer accuracy is in question, a cathode tube requires that the high-
spinning top should be used to check voltage be unidirectional, that is, flowing
the actual length of exposure with from the cathode to the anode of the x-
that of the selected time ray tube
 The factors to be used for spinning
Exposure switch
top radiographs are 60 to 65 kVp, 50
or 100 mA, 0.1 second and a 30 or 40  Located in the primary circuit,
inch SID. No less than five exposure automatically controls the secondary
should be averaged for final voltage and current, since they are
evaluation obtained by mutual induction
 Since there are 120 current impulses
in full – wave rectified current, there
should be 12 exposure dots on the  Measures the tube current averages, not
radiograph in 0.1 second; with 60 the peak values, and registers only
impulses in half – wave rectified during exposure, that is during the
current, there should be 6 exposure period of time the cathode electrons
dots on the radiograph in 0.1 second flow to the anode
Milliampere Selector  In some equipment using tube currents
in excess of 300 mA, a milliampere-
 Often called the technique selector, second meter is in series with the
is in series with a choke oil or milliammeter. This meter registers the
rheostat, and the oil immersed total milliampere-seconds used in any
filament transformer one exposure
 The filament transformer supplies  A red signal warming light flashes on
the filament of the x-ray tube with when the exposure is made, to call
sufficient amperage to heat the attention to the number of milliampere-
filament, which does not exceed 5 second employed, so that if the selection
amperes at no more than 15 volts is great enough to overload the x-ray
 Choke oil is an electrical reactor tube, the operator can terminate the
which is connected to the exposure
milliampere selector that increases  The milliampere-second meter also
or decreases the milliamperage and provides a more accurate registration of
accurately controls the tube current the true value of the milliamperage
 Rheostat is an electrical device by during very short exposures
means of which variable amounts of
resistance may be either placed in or
removed from the circuit and is  The primary circuit supplies current to
considerably less satisfactory in the filament circuit which is frequently
comparison to the choke oil called the heating circuit
SECONDARY CIRCUIT  The filament transformer induces the
heating current, which flow through the
 The secondary circuit begins and ends at cathode of the x-ray tube
the secondary side of the high-voltage  The heating current functions to
transformer and conducts the high produce sufficient heat in the cathode
voltage used in the production of xrays filaments to enable the secondary
 The high-voltage in induced in the current through thermionic emission, to
secondary side of the high-voltage flow from cathode to anode
TRANSFORMER  It is immersed in oil in the transformer
assembly for maximum insulation
 A transformer is an electric device which
work on the principle of electromagnetic Step-down Transformer
induction that either steps up
 Has fewer windings in the secondary coil
(increases) or steps down (decreases)
than primary coil
the incoming voltage and current
 Generates a lesser electric potential in
 Magnetic lines of forces exist around any
the secondary coil than the primary coil
wire along which an electric current is
flowing. If a second wire is placed  Generates a lesser electric current in the
parallel with and near to a wire primary coil that the secondary coil
conducting an alternating current, an Closed-core Transformer
alternating current will be caused to
flow along the second wire. The  Built about a square core of
alternations will be of equal duration but ferromagnetic material
opposite in direction to the inducing  The ferromagnetic core is built up of
current. This is the principle of mutual laminated layers of iron which helps to
induction reduce energy losses (eddy currents),
 A transformer will only operate in resulting in greater transformer
alternating current and will induce no efficiency
current when supplied by direct current Shell-type Transformer
 A transformer is an electromagnet with
core bent around that forms a  This type of transformer confines even
continuous loop more of the magnetic field lines of the
 There are no end surfaces from which primary winding because the secondary
ferromagnetic field lines can escape. winding is wrapped around it and there
Thus, the magnetic field tends to be are essentially two closed-cores
confined to the loop of magnetic core  This type is more efficient than closed-
material core transformer
 Contained within the core, the changing
magnetic field induces a voltage on the
secondary winding, the magnitude of  The autotransformer works on the
which is amplified by the number of principle of self-induction. It consists of
turns of wire an iron core with only one winding of
 For Ns<Np, a “step-down” transformer wire about it
decreases the secondary voltage, and  This single winding acts as both primary
for Ns=Np, an “isolation” transformer and the secondary winding
produces a secondary voltage equal to  Provides a convenient location for the
the primary voltage kVp meter that indicates the voltage to
be applied across the x-ray tube
Step-up Transformer
 An autotransformer generally smaller
 Has fewer windings in the primary coil and because the primary and the
than the secondary coil secondary sides are connected to the
 Generates a greater electric potential in same wire, its use is generally restricted
the secondary coil than the primary coil to cases in which only small step-up or
 Generates greater electric current in the step-down in voltage is required
primary coil that the secondary coil  Supplies voltage to the primary side of
 Also known as high-voltage transformer, the x-ray tube filament circuit and high-
one of the component of an x-ray high- voltage transformer
voltage generator that supplies energy  Additional p.39 Christensen’s provides
to the electron suitable voltage for subsidiary circuits of
 Increases the incoming voltage from the x-ray imaging system
secondary coil of the autotransformer  Laws of Transformer p.38 Christensen’s
up to thousands of voltage (kV)
Copper Losses  The x-ray tube is made of Pyrex glass
that encloses a vacuum containing two
 Are caused by the resistance to current
flow that is characteristic of all
 The electrodes are designed so that
electrons produced at the cathode can
 Remedy: copper loss can be reduced by
be accelerated by a high potential
using larger diameter conductive wire
difference toward the anode
Eddy Current Losses  Electrons are placed by the heated
tungsten filament and accelerated
 Are a result of small currents (eddy across the tube to hit the tungsten
current) built up in the core material as target, where x-rays are produced
a result of the continually changing
magnetic fields Glass Enclosure
 Remedy: eddy current losses are
 It is necessary to seal the two electrodes
reduced by laminating the core material;
of the x-ray tube in a vacuum
any currents generated can travel only
 The purpose of the vacuum in the
small distance between laminations and
modern x-ray tube is to allow the
therefore, represent a smaller energy
number and speed of the accelerated
electrons to be controlled
Hysteresis Losses independently
 The shape and size of these x-ray tubes
 Are a result of the continually changing
are specifically designed to present
magnetic domains of the core material electric discharge between the
(as a result of changing polarity of AC)
 Remedy: hysteresis loss can be reduced
 During operation of the x-ray tube, both
by using core material of greater
the glass and the connecting wires are
permeability (e.g. silicon) heated to high temperature
X-RAY MACHINE  Because of differences in their
expansion coefficient, most metals
 An x-ray machine must have s table upon expand more than glass when heated.
which the patient is positioned. For This difference in expansion would cause
some examinations the patient is the glass metal seal to break and would
positioned against a vertical cassette destroy vacuum in the tube if special
holder considerations were not taken
 An x-ray machine must have a control  Because of this problem, special alloys,
panel upon which the determination of having approximately the same
the kilovoltage, milliamperage, and time coefficient of linear expansion as Pyrex
are made glass, are generally used in x-ray tubes
 An x-ray machine has a number of  Highly refined oil completely fills the
transformer and other electrical items space between the metal shield and the
usually immersed in an oil bath and glass tube to function as an electric
situated at some distance from both insulator, as a heat conductor, and as a
table and control panel filter for soft and useless x-rays
 The most important part of the x-ray  The presence of the oil makes the x-ray
machine is the x-ray tube from which the tube essentially shock proof and acts as
x-rays are generated an inherent filter that must be
X-ARY TUBE (DIODE TUBE) equivalent to a minimum of 0.5 mm of
 X-rays are produced by energy
conversions when a fast moving stream
of electrons is suddenly decelerated in
the target anode of an x-ray tube
CATHODE technique) selector incorporates the
 The small focal spot is used when better
 The filament is made of thoriated spatial resolution is required. The large
tungsten wire, about 0.2mm in focal spot is used when a large body
diameter, that is coiled to form a vertical parts are imaged and when other
spiral about 0.2cm in diameter and 1cm techniques that produce high heat are
or less in length required
 Tungsten provides for higher thermionic  On many modern x-ray systems, the
emission than other metals small or large filament can be
 Thermionic emission is defined as the automatically selected by the x-ray
emission of electrons resulting from the generator depending on the technique
absorption of thermal energy factors (kV and mAs)
 The electron cloud surrounding the  Vaporization of the filament when it is
filament, produce by thermionic heated acts to shorten the life of an x-ray
emission, has been termed the “Edison tube, because the filament will break if it
effect” becomes too thin
 The addition of 1% - 2% thorium to the  Tungsten that is vaporized from the
tungsten filament increases efficiency of filament is deposited as an extremely
thermionic emission and prolongs tube thin coating in the inner surface of the
life glass wall of the x-ray tube which
 A pure tungsten filament must be produces a color that becomes deeper
heated to a temperature of at least as the tube ages
2200°C to emit a useful number of  Aging tube requires a bronze-colored
electrons (thermions) “sun burn” which tends to filter the x-ray
 The space charge is the electrons beam, gradually changing the quality of
emitted from the tungsten filament the beam, and increases the possibility
forming a small cloud in the immediate of electrical discharge between the glass
vicinity of the filament which tends to and the electrodes at higher peak kilo
prevent other electrons from being voltage values, which may result in
emitted from the filament until they puncture of the tube
have acquired sufficient thermal energy Focusing Cup
to overcome the force caused by the
space charge  The focusing cup concentrates the
 The space charge effect is the tendency electrons emitted from the filament
of the space charge to limit the emission onto a small area (focal spot) of the
of more electrons from the filament anode target
 The unit of electric current is the  The focusing cup is negatively charged
ampere, which may be defined as the so that is electrostatically confines the
rate of flow when 1 Coulomb of electron beam to a small area of the
electricity flows through a conductor in anode
1 sec  The focusing cup is usually made of
 The coulomb is the equivalent of the nickel
amount of electric charge by 6.25 x 1018  In a grid controlled x-ray tube, the
 Electron current across an x-ray tube is focusing cup is the grid (exposure)
in one direction only, always cathode to switch
anode  Grid controlled x-ray tubes are designed
 The x-ray tube usually has two cathode to be turned on and off very rapidly
filaments, small and large filaments,  Grid controlled x-ray tubes are used in
independent of each other portable capacitor discharge imaging
 Some dual-focus x-ray tubes have system, digital subtraction angiography,
separate switch to select focal spot size. digital radiography and cineradiography,
Usually the milliamperage (mA which requires multiple exposure for
precise exposure time
ANODE Rotating Anode

 The anode is a metal target electrode  Rotating anode is used for most
that is maintained at a large positive diagnostic x-ray applications, mainly
potential difference relative to the because of greater heat loading and
cathode higher intensity x-ray output
 The production of x-rays, generates a  The anode is beveled disc mounted on a
large amount of heat in the anode rotor assembly supported by the bearing
 There are two types of anode x-ray tubes in the x-ray tube insert
anode, stationary or fixed and rotating  The beveled edge of the tungsten disc is
used to take advantage of the line focus
Stationary or Fixed Anode
principle which allows large focal spot to
 Consist of a small plate of tungsten, 2 or be bombarded by electrons for greater
3 mm thick that is embedded in a large heat loading and providing small
mass of copper effective focal area to produce good
 The anode angle is typically ranged from radiographic detail
7 - 20°, with 12-15° angles being the  The diameter of the tungsten disc
most common determines the total length of the target
 Tungsten is chosen as the target tract and obviously affects the maximum
material for several reasons: permissible loading of the anode. Typical
 High atomic number: makes it disc diameter measure 7.5, 10.0, 12.5
more efficient for x-ray cm
production  The rotor consist of copper bars
 High melting point: able to arranged around a cylindrical iron core
withstand the high temperature  A donut shaped stator device comprised
 Good heat absorption: able to of electromagnet, surrounds the rotor
dissipate heat away from the and is mounted outside the x-ray tube
target area inserts
 Copper serves a dual role: it  The periodic reversal of electron
mechanically support the tungsten movement in a conductor, passes
insert and efficiently conducts heat from through the stator windings, produces a
the tungsten target magnetic field which induces electrical
 Copper is a better conductor of heat current in the rotor’s copper bar that
than tungsten, so the massive copper causes it to spin
acts to increase the total thermal  Rotation speed are 3000-3600 (low
capacity of the anode and to speed its speed) or 9000-10000 (high speed)
rate of cooling revolution per minute (rpm)
 The actual focal size is considerably  A safety circuit is incorporated into the
larger than the area actually bombarded x-ray circuit that prevents an x-ray
by the stream of electrons exposure from being made until the
 A single x-ray exposure may raise the rotor has reached its full speed; this is
temperature of the bombarded area of the cause for the short delay (0.5-1s)
the tungsten target by 1000°C or more when the x-ray tube exposure button is
 If the tungsten target where not pushed
sufficiently large to allow for some  Most rotating anode are cooled by
cooling around the edges of the focal infrared radiation emission, transferring
spot, the heat produce would melt the heat to the x-ray tube insert and to the
copper in the immediate vicinity of the surrounding oil bath and tube housing
Special Design for Rotating Anode
 If the bonding between the tungsten and
the copper where not satisfactorily  Case: because the anode is contained
produced, the tungsten target would within the vacuum of the tube, rotation
tend to peel away from the copper of the anode posed to be a problem
 Solution: the power to effect rotation is
provided by a magnetic field produce by
 Case: the length of the molybdenum
stator coils that surround the neck of the
stem is another important
x-ray tube outside the envelope
consideration. As a length of the stem is
increased the inertia of the tungsten disc
increases; this increases the load of the
 Case: the life of the tube was quite short
bearings of the anode assembly
because of the lack of durable bearings
 Solution: this problem is reduced in
on which the anode assembly could
metal tubes by the use of bearing at
rotate. Because of the friction produced
each end of the anode axel
it was necessary to lubricate the
bearings but commonly available
lubricants could not be used. Lubricants
 Case: the life of a rotating anode x-ray
such as oil will vaporized when heated
tube may be limited by roughening and
and destroy the vacuum in the tube; dry
pitting of the surface of the anode
lubricants such as graphite would wear
exposed to the electron
off such as powder and destroy the
vacuum  Solution: it has been found that an alloy
of about 90% of tungsten and 10% of
 Solution: these problems were solved
rhenium produces an anode that is more
with the used of metallic lubricants, such
resistant to surface roughening and has
as silver which are suitable for use in a
a higher thermal capacity than an anode
high vacuum. In a modern rotating
of pure tungsten. Some limited discs use
anode tubes bearings were has become
carbon (graphite) instead of
negligible factor in overall tube life
molybdenum to further decrease disc

 Case: heat dissipation in a rotating Grid-Biased / Grid-Controlled X-ray Tube

anode tube presents an additional
 A grid-biased tube has a focusing cup
that is electrically isolated from the
 Solution: heat generated is a solid
cathode filament and maintained at a
tungsten disc is dissipated by radiating
more negative voltage
through the vacuum to the wall of the
 A grid-controlled x-ray tube contains its
tube, and then into the surrounding oil
“switch” which allows the x-ray tube to
and tube housing
be turned on and off rapidly as required
by the sine angiography
 A third electrode is used in a grid-
 Case: in the stationary anode, heat is
controlled tube to control the flow of
dissipated by absorption and
electrons from the filament to the
conductivity of the massive copper. In
target, which is the focusing cup that
rotating anode tube absorption of heat
surrounds the filament
by the anode assembly in undesirable
 A voltage of about 100V negative is
because heat absorbed by the bearings
applied with respect to the filament
of the anode assembly would cause
voltage to further reduce the spread of
them to expand and bind
electrons and produce a smaller focal
 Solution: because of this problem the
spot width
stem, which connects the tungsten
target to the remainder of the anode X-ray Tube Rating Charts
assembly, is made of molybdenum that
has a high melting point (2600°C) and is  The radiographic tube-rating chart is
a poor heat conductor. Thus, the designed to indicate maximum “safe”
molybdenum stem provides a partial exposure values for any one exposure
heat barrier between the tungsten disc  Proper use of the tube-rating chart tends
and the bearings of the anode assembly to prevents overloading of the x-ray
tube, overloading usually necessitates hours depends on the anode heat-
an expensive replacement storage characteristics
 Energy producing heat quantities  Note that anode cooling is much more
greater than that tolerated by the rapid when the anode has accumulated
tungsten target material can melt the large amount of heat. This is a practical
tungsten at the focal spot application of the physical laws stating,
 The maximum temperature to which that heat loss by radiation is
tungsten can be safely raised is generally proportional to the fourth power of the
considered to be 3000°C temperature
 Above this level, considerable  One of the most important uses of the
evaporation of the tungsten target anode heat-storage chart is to
occurs determine the length of the time of tube
 The total heat produced is a product of must be allowed to cool before the
voltage and current and exposure time, additional exposures can be made
which is expressed the heat units  In today’s modern technology the field
 Heat unit (HU) is a traditional unit that of radiology exhibit rapid changes,
provides a simple ways of expressing the among which is the change from single-
energy deposition on and dissipation phase to three-phase to high-frequency
from the anode of a single-phase power generators. This change helps to achieve
supply x-ray tube desired –ray quantity and quality with
 A HU is a unit of energy and a watt- minimal tube loading thus, prolonging
second or joule is a unit of energy so we the x-ray tube life
may compare the HU with the joule
 The amount of heat that can be
accepted by an x-ray tube without  Rectification may be achieved by use of
excessive damage is in part determined x-ray tube alone in which is called self-
by: rectification
 Type of rectification and type of  Principle: when the cathode is negative
power supply with respect to the anode, electrons
 The surface area of tungsten flow at high speed from the cathode to
bombarded by electrons the node and x-rays are produced.
 The length of the exposure During the next half of the electrical
 It is considered tube rating, three cycle, the target of the x-ray tube is
characteristics are encountered negative and the filament positive, so
 The ability of the tube to electrons, if they are available, would
withstand a single exposure flow away from the target towards the
 The ability of the tube to filament. This would be highly
function despite multiple rapid undesirable because such electrons
exposures would not produce useful x-rays, and
 The ability of the tube to such electrons would further heat the
withstand multiple exposures filament and reduce its lifetime by
during several hours of heavy blocking current flow in the inverse half
use of the electrical cycle, the x-ray tube
 The manufacturer of x-ray tube used in changes an alternating current to direct
any diagnostic installation always supply current
tube rating charts for the specific  Because only the upper half of each
circumstances under which the tubes electrical cycle is used to produce x-rays,
will be used the waveform is called half wave
 A tube-thermal characteristic chart is rectification
developed at the factory from values of
Disadvantage of Self Rectification
maximum anode heat storage capacity
and heat dissipation of the anode  Prolonged time of exposure since only
 The ability of an x-ray tube to withstand half of the available electrical cycle
heat loading over a period of several neutralized to produce x-rays
 Shortened filament life as repeated of Full-wave Rectification
prolonged exposures heat the anode, it
 In a full-wave rectified circuit, the
may become hot enough to emit
negative half-cycle corresponding to the
electrons and to produce a current
inverse voltage is reversed so that the
during the inverse half-cycle, that would
anode is always positive
bombard the filament and eventually
 Note that there are no gaps in the
destroy it
output wave form. All of the output
P-N Junction wave form is rectified into usable output
 The main advantage of the full-wave
 When a P-type semiconductor is joined
rectification is that the exposure time for
to an N-type semiconductor a solid-state
any given technique is cut in half
rectifier is formed
 The pulsed x-ray output of a full-wave
 A P-N junction in a semiconductor
rectified machine generates 120 times
permits a large current flow when the
each second
potential direction is from the N-type
side to the P-type side, and the very Three Phase Generator
small current or no current at all will flow
when the potential direction is reversed.  Three phase generators produces an
In P-N junction, the electrons in the N- almost constant potential difference
type semiconductor are free to move across the x-ray tube
toward the P-type semiconductor to fill  This nearly constant potential gives
the hole created by the impurity three-phase generators a major
advantage of over a single-phase
Semiconductor generators that produce a pulsating
desired current potential
 One of the semiconductor is an N-type in
 Three-phase generators produce x-rays
which there is an excess of electrons
efficiently throughout the exposure ,
(negative charges)
and the average x-ray energy is
 Other is P-type in which there is a
somewhat higher because no time is
deficiency of electrons (excess of proton
spent bombarding the x-ray tube target
or positively charged)
with low energy electrons
 If a crystal of silicon receives a trace of
 Another advantage of three-phase
aluminum, indium, and/or gallium
generator is much higher tube rating for
impurities which are called acceptor
extremely short exposures
because the crystal will lack one electron
 Three-phase 6-pulse, utilizes six
required to complete covalent bonding
rectifiers and produces six pulses per
thus producing hole (P-type
cycle (1/60 sec.) or 360 pulses per sec
 Three-phase 12-pulse, produces twelve
Half-wave Rectification pulse per cycle (1/60 sec.) or 720 pulses
per sec
 In half-wave rectification, the wave form
is produce when two rectifiers
connected in series with the x-ray tube
 The electrons flow through the electrons
tube from cathode to anode, when the
voltage reverses during the inverse half
of the alternating cycle, the rectifiers
stop current flow thus reducing half-
wave rectification
 The only advantage of their rectifiers is
that they protect the x-ray tube from the
full potential of the inverse cycle