Testing the Philips Metalix X-ray tube

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In 1924 Philips publishes the invention of the Metalix X-ray tube. In 1925, Dr. Daniel den Hoed tests the Metalix tube before it is released for sale by the Philips company [18]. Image: Philips Technical Journal

The Metalix tube is an invention of the development group of Dr. Albert Bouwers at the Philips NatLab. In 1920 Bouwers is given the task of developing X-ray tubes and equipment. In the new X-ray tube, the glass envelope around the anode is replaced by a metal housing with a window for the X-ray beam. The metal housing absorbs the radiation outside the useful beam and is less likely to break on impact.  Working with this type of tube is therefore safer. 

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Metalix therapy tube as used in the Netherlands Cancer Institute from 1929. Depot Philips Museum Eindhoven 2008. Photo: H. van der Gugten

The Metalix tube is a further development of the Coolidge tube.  In the new tube the vulnerable glass sphere has been replaced by a metal cylinder with an exit window for the X-ray beam. This resulted in integrated radiation protection and a sturdy construction. It was an important step in the further development of the X-ray tube technology. Like the Coolidge tube the cathode is heated by an electrical filament. To avoid the patent on the Coolidge tube the early Metalix tubes contained a small quantity of helium gas instead of being under vacuum. After this, other manufacturers came onto the market with similar constructions.


Bronnen & Publicaties

  • [18] Jaarverslag Nederlands Kanker Instituut 1925. ,