Tables for
Volume H
Powder diffraction
Edited by C. J. Gilmore, J. A. Kaduk and H. Schenk

International Tables for Crystallography (2018). Vol. H, ch. 2.1, p. 39

Section Moving-target X-ray sources

A. Kerna*

aBruker AXS, Östliche Rheinbrückenstrasse 49, Karlsruhe 76187, Germany
Correspondence e-mail: Moving-target X-ray sources

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(a) Rotating-target X-ray sources. Rotating-target X-ray sources are able to remove heat more efficiently than fixed-target sources, and can thereby sustain higher fluxes of X-ray photons (Fig. 2.1.13[link]b). This is achieved by rotating a cooled anode, with a typical diameter ranging from about 10 to 30 cm, at about 6000–12 000 revolutions per minute. The maximum power loads depend on the focal spot size, and can range up to 18 kW for conventional rotating-target X-ray sources, and 3 kW for micro-focus rotating-target X-ray sources. Rotating-target X-ray sources are thus inherently more brilliant, and gain up to an order of magnitude in brilliance compared to their respective fixed-target counterparts.

Rotating-target systems do require routine maintenance such as periodic anode refurbishment and changes of the filament, bearings and seals. The maintenance requirements of micro-focus systems are significantly lower than those of conventional rotating-target systems because of the lower total power loading.

(b) Liquid-metal-jet X-ray sources. A very recent development is that of liquid-metal-jet micro-focus X-ray sources (Fig. 2.1.13[link]c), where a jet of liquid metal acts as the electron-beam target (Hemberg et al., 2003[link]). A thin (<100–225 µm) high-speed (>50 m s−1) liquid-metal jet is injected into vacuum by applying a backing pressure of about 200 bar and is targeted by a focused electron beam with a beam power of up to 200 W and a focal spot size of down to 6 µm. The focal spot is viewed at a take-off angle of about 45° to obtain a symmetric beam usually coupled into Montel optics. (Montel optics are described in Section[link].)

Ideal materials for use in liquid-jet anodes are electrically conductive to avoid charging and have low vapour pressure to simplify vacuum operation. Among a few materials currently being evaluated, Galinstan (a eutectic mixture of 68.5% Ga, 21.5% In and 10% Sn by weight) is particularly suited for laboratory X-ray analyses, as it is liquid at room temperature (melting point 254 K), with the most intense Ga Kα line at 9.25 keV, and less intense In Kα and Sn Kα lines at 24 and 25.3 keV, respectively.

The obvious advantage of a metal-jet anode is that the maximum electron-beam power density can be significantly increased compared to solid-metal anodes and thus the brilliance can be increased by up to an order of magnitude.


Hemberg, O. E., Otendal, M. & Hertz, H. M. (2003). Liquid-metal-jet anode electron-impact X-ray source. Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 1483–1485.Google Scholar

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