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A Compact High Voltage System for Experimental X-Ray Sources

A Cramer1,2*, J Caines2 , T Moulton3 , K Yang3 , W Krull3 , R Gupta2,3 , (1) MIT, Cambridge, MA, (2) Harvard, Cambridge, MA, (3) Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA


(Sunday, 7/14/2019) 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Room: Exhibit Hall | Forum 8

Purpose: Many experimental x-ray sources have been developed in the past decade, including field emission and amplified photocathodes. While these sources differ in electron generation mechanisms, they all require high acceleration voltages for x-ray emission. Achieving these voltages is a significant technical hurdle.We present an easily replicable framework for safely and reliably providing adjustable high voltages in benchtop experiments with mostly off-the-shelf components. While our work was intended for research, it is also relevant as a possible way of supporting clinical x-ray imaging – or other high-voltage applications - in resource-poor environments.

Methods: We use a LabJack UE9 digital/analog IO device to control three separate low voltage power supplies and a series of relays, which in turn control the output of high voltage power supplies. The hardware connections are made through a custom printed circuit board. In addition to the presence of two separate emergency stop buttons, all of the switches and software controls are designed to fail safe through relays and gas discharge tubes.A custom LabView control program is used to control, monitor and record the current and voltage of these sources in real time. The control program allows for synchronization pulses to be sent to coordinate with external hardware devices, such as a flat panel detector and a rotation stage.

Results: Our system is used simultaneously control and adjust a 10-50 kV circuit and a 1-5 kV circuit. The entire HV system is relatively inexpensive (~$2K), and fits in 3’x1’x6� crate, and is run off of a wall power socket.

Conclusion: We have designed and built an inexpensive, compact, and robust framework for supplying high voltages to experimental x-ray sources, and other HV applications. The high voltage system is currently in use supporting two experiments: a stationary CT system, and a prototype field emission source.


X-ray Production, X Rays, Software


IM- X-ray: Development (new technology and techniques)

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