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mini-x

Mini-X is a self-contained miniature X-ray tube system,
which includes the X-ray tube, high voltage supply, and USB controller.
Designed for X-ray fluorescence analysis applications - XRF.

mini-x product photo

Features

  • 50 kV/80 µA
  • Silver (Ag) or Gold (Au) Target
  • USB Controlled
  • Stable Output
  • Fast
  • Low Power
  • Small

Applications

  • X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis
  • Portable systems
  • OEM
  • Process control
  • Research and teaching

Mini-X is the first of its kind; a self-contained, packaged, miniature X-ray tube system, which includes the X-ray tube, the power supply, the control electronics and the USB communication to the computer. It is designed to replace radioisotopes in X-ray fluorescence analysis applications.

Mini-X has been designed to simplify the XRF process by providing a grounded anode, variable current and voltage controlled via USB and ease of operation. It features a 50 kV/80 µA power supply, a silver (Ag) or gold (Au) transmission target, and a beryllium end window. It is designed for continuous operation in industrial environments.

To further simplify the use of Mini-X an AC adaptor is provided to supply the 12 VDC needed to power the system. The only connections needed to operate the tube are a USB cable and AC adaptor. A flashing red LED and a beeper warns the user when x-rays are present.

mini-x x-ray tube output spectrum - Ag
Figure 1a. Mini-X Silver (Ag) X-Ray Output Spectrum at 50 kV.

mini-x x-ray tube output spectrum - Au
Figure 1b. Mini-X Gold (Au) X-ray Output spectrum at 50 kV.

The Mini-X is based on the Newton Scientific Inc. miniature X-ray source.


Specifications

Target MaterialSilver (Ag) or Gold (Au)
Target ThicknessAg = 0.75 µm; (±0.1 µm)
Au = 1.00 µm (±0.1 µm)
Tube voltage10 to 50 kV
Tube current5 µA min. / 200 µA max
See Figure 2 below
Approximate Dose RateAg: 1 Sv/h @ 30 cm on axis, 50 kV and 80 µA
Au: 1.3 Sv/h @ 30 cm on axis, 50 kV and 80 µA
Approximate FluxAg: 106 counts per second/mm2 on the axis at a distance of 30 cm (50 keV/1 µA)
Au: 1.3x106 counts per second/mm2 on the axis at a distance of 30 cm (50 keV/1 µA)
Continuous Output Power4 W max at 100% duty cycle
See Figure 2 below
Window MaterialBeryllium (Be); window at ground
Window Thickness127 µm
Focal Spot SizeApproximately 2 mm
Output Cone Angle120° (See figures 6 and 7)
CoolingAir Cooled
High Voltage Stability<0.1%
Leakage Radiation at 5 cm
with safety plug installed
<5 µSv/h (0.5 mrem/h)
Power Consumption9 W at 50 kV and 80 µA
Input Voltage12 VDC (AC adapter included)
ControlUSB, mini-USB connector (cable included)
Settling TimeTypical <1 second
Weight360 grams
Humidity30 to 90% noncondencing
Operating Temperature Range-10 °C to 50 °C
Storage Temperature Range-25 °C to 60 °C
Safety Controls and Indicators1) External Hardware Interlock
2) Flashing LED
3) Beeper
SoftwareMini-X Control software to control voltage and current (see figure 3).
Mini-X API for custom programming applications.
WarrantyOne year or 2000 hours, whichever comes first

mini-x au output spectrum at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 kV
Figure 2. Mini-X Gold (Au) Output Spectrum at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 kV.

mini-x ag output spectrum at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 kV
Figure 3. Mini-X Silver (Ag) Output Spectrum at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 kV.

mini-x isopower curve
Figure 4. 4W Isopower curve.

mini-x software control
Figure 5. USB Software Interface. Allows the user to set the voltage and current as well as monitor both parameters.

mini-x connectors back panel
Figure 6. Back panel connectors.


Figure 7. Relative Output Spectra: Ag and Au Targets. Taken at a distance of 18 inches (45.7 cm),
with 2 mm diameter collimator on the Mini-X, a 1 mm diameter collimator on the detector, and 50 kV/1 µA.
Note that the Au tube gives more counts for the same current. This is because the Bremsstrahlung increases for increasing Z.

mini-x angular response
Figure 8. Mini-X Angular Response, 120° cone.

mini-x angular response cone
Figure 9. Mini-X 120° cone.
NOTE: When using the 2 mm collimator, the X-ray cone is 5°.


Mini-X Silver (Ag) Output Spectra with Various Filters

mini-x Ag output spectrum with 3 mil Cu filter
Figure 10. Mini-X Ag Output Spectrum with 3 mil Cu Filter.
mini-x Ag output spectrum with 2 mil Mo filter
Figure 11. Mini-X Ag Output Spectrum with 2 mil Mo Filter.
mini-x Ag output spectrum with 1 mil Ag filter
Figure 12. Mini-X Ag Output Spectrum with 1 mil Ag Filter.
mini-x Ag output spectrum with 1 mil W + 10 mil Al filter
Figure 13. Mini-X Ag Output Spectrum with 1 mil W + 10 mil Al Filter.
mini-x output spectrum with 80 mil Al filter
Figure 14. Mini-X Ag Output Spectrum with 80 mil Al Filter.

Mini-X Gold (Au) Output Spectra with Various Filters

mini-x Au output spectrum with 3 mil Cu filter
Figure 15. Mini-X Au Output Spectrum with 3 mil Cu Filter.
mini-x Au output spectrum with 2 mil Mo filter
Figure 16. Mini-X Au Output Spectrum with 2 mil Mo Filter.
mini-x Au output spectrum with 1 mil Ag filter
Figure 17. Mini-X Au Output Spectrum with 1 mil Ag Filter.
mini-x Au output spectrum with 1 mil W + 10 mil Al filter
Figure 18. Mini-X Au Output Spectrum with 1 mil W + 10 mil Al Filter.
mini-x Au output spectrum with 80 mil Al filter
Figure 19. Mini-X Au Output Spectrum with 80 mil Al Filter.

The above spectra have not been normalized (i.e. not taken at the same current for the same time etc.). They have been provided only to show the shape of the spectrum and demonstrate how a filter can be used to obtain a beam specific to an application. Keep in mind that when any filter is used it reduces the flux coming out of the tube. An Al filter reduces the flux much less than a W or Ag filter. The higher the Z of the filter or the thicker the filter, the less flux will be available. It is therefore necessary to raise the current of the x-ray tube to compensate.

The above spectra were taken with the Amptek XR-100T-CdTe detector, a PX4 digital processor and power supply, and the silver (Ag) and gold (Au) versions of the Mini-X. In the spectra above there are notches observed at 26.7 and 31.8 keV. These are the Cd and Te K absorption edges. The XRF-FP software was used to correct the escape peaks generated in the detector. Please see application note ANCDTE1 for more information on the effects of the CdTe detector on the output spectrum.

The following filters are provided with the Mini-X:

MaterialThickness (µm/mils)# Provided
Al1016/405
Al254/105
Cu25.4/13
Mo25.4/12
Ag25.4/11
W25.4/11

Why should I use a filter on the X-ray tube?

mini-x output spectrum with and without 80 mil aluminum (Al) filter
Figure 20. This figure shows the output spectrum of the Mini-X-Ag at 40 kV unfiltered, and filtered with 80 mils (2 mm) of aluminum (Al). In the unfiltered spectrum, a large fraction of brehmstrahlung counts are at low energy (between 5 and 15 keV), which are removed in the filtered spectrum.

pb xrf with and without 80 mil Al filter
Figrue 21. Shows spectra measured from a lead target using the unfiltered and filtered tube. With no filter, the lead characteristic X-rays are superimposed on a large background of scattered X-rays. With a filter, the signal to background ratio is significantly improved. This will reduce the measurement uncertainty in these lines. Notice how the L-gamma line is much more visible in the filtered spectrum than in the un-filtered.


Collimator and Safety Plug

The Mini-X is provided with two collimators to facilitate its use in XRF applications. They consists of a brass collimators with aluminum (Al) inserts and a cover that screws into the Mini-X. The collimators have 1 and 2 mm diameter holes. A brass safety plug is also provided which, when installed, reduces the flux from an operating tube to less than 25 µSv/h (2.5 mrem/hr) at 5 cm away in accordance with requirement 5.2.2.2.2 of the NS Handbook for Radiation Safety for X-Ray Diffraction and Fluorescence Analysis Equipment.

mini-x collimator photo
Figure 22. Mini-X collimator and safety plug.
mini-x with cover and safety plug
Figure 23. Mini-X with safety plug installed.
mini-x with cover and collimator
Figure 24. Mini-X with collimator installed.

Figure 25. Nickel plated brass collimator cover mechanical dimensions (mils/mm).


Mechanical Dimensions

mini-x mechanical dimensions
Figure 26. Mini-X mechanical dimensions (in. [mm]).


Radiation Precautions

The Mini-X Is intended to generate x-ray radiation during normal operation. The Mini-X has been designed to focus radiation in the designated output direction, however radiation in other directions is possible and should be addressed with shielding and/or monitoring in the final application.

Caution

This device produces X-Rays when energized. To be operated only by qualified personnel.


Radiation Levels

Radiation levels external to the X-ray tube housing with the brass safety plug ON do not exceed 25 µSv/h (2.5 mrem/h) measured 5 cm from the surface of the housing in accordance with Requirement 5.2.2.2.2 of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Handbook for Radiation Safety for X-Ray Diffraction and Fluorescence Analysis Equipment.

For more information please see the NBS Handbook.

Examples of Shielding (that comply with the above standard)

The inside of the housing can also be lined with 3.18 mm (0.125 inch) of aluminum (Al) in order to absorb the XRF from the shielding material.


OEM X-Ray Tubes for XRF

OEM tubes 1
Figure 27. Custom packaging to meet the unique demands of the OEM.

NOTE: The OEM X-ray tubes are not the same as the Mini-X. The Mini-X has a USB interface to control the voltage and current through PC software. The Mini-X is and end-user, packaged device.
The OEM versions are controlled by user supplied analog voltages.

Click here for OEM X-ray tubes.


Vacuum Application

The Mini-X can be configured with a standard conflat for vacuum applications.

mini-x vacuum
Figure 28. Mini-X and XR100 with vacuum couplings.


Complete XRF System Includes

  • X-123 Complete Spectrometer
  • Mini-X USB Controlled X-Ray Tube
  • XRF-FP Quantitative Analysis Software
  • MP1 XRF Mounting Plate

x-123 and mini-x on mp1 mounting plate
Figure 29. The X-123 and Mini-X on the MP1 mounting plate.

See the Experimenter's XRF Kit.


CAUTION: The Mini-X is only one component of an X-ray instrument. It is the responsibility of the user, the OEM customer, or experimenter to provide a fail safe metal enclosure to prevent escaping radiation while using this product. The final product (turn-key system) must comply with local government regulations to protect personnel from exposure to radiation. Amptek Inc., bears no responsibility for the incorrect use of this product.


Mini-X specification in PDF

Glossary


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Revised December 20, 2013