Purpose: The speed of scientific and industrial development of new diagnostic and therapeutic X-ray sources remains tremendous. Studying the history of medical X-rays and the evolution of the technology of its sources has been sparking fascination and heuristic insight over more than a century. Still to date, and despite of their deficiencies, vacuum electronic X-ray tubes and high voltage generators remain the dominant and most affordable sources of medical diagnostic X-rays.
Methods: This presentation will illustrate the various branches of the development of the technology and will pay credit to some of those scientists, craftsmen, business leaders, and artisans, who have driven this field of innovation.
Results: Taking a multi-vendor perspective, this paper will discuss in depth the paths taken for improvement of medical X-ray tubes for radiography, CT and angiography. Thanks to contributions from various industrial sources, it presents a brief, but comprehensive overview.
Conclusion: The development of modern diagnostic X-ray sources will continue to stay dynamic. There is no reasonable alternative to braking radiation generated by vacuum electronic devices.