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The construction and working principles of a microchannel and the characteristics of channel plates are briefly described. X-ray image intensifiers can be built by use of this electronic multiplier with an X-photon-electron converter, and a conventional phosphor screen for the output. Three main types are considered: the scintillation image intensifier, the metallic converter image intensifier, and the direct-detection image intensifier. The description and the main characteristics are given for each type of intensifier.
Also considered are the main limitations of microchannel image X-ray intensifiers; namely the limitations in diameter and uniformity and, for the whole system, due to the limited number of photons available which limit spatial resolution, the lifetime and the noise factor, which can also be serious drawbacks for particular intensifiers.
So, even taking into account that some interesting characteristics of microchannel plates (variable gain, no distortion, fast response) have not been fully exploited, the developments of such intensifiers, in the near future, will be probably limited to some special uses both in medical and industrial fields.
Technological improvements and reductions of price can modify, of course, the present situation in a few years.
X-ray tubes, electron tubes, electron multipliers, microchannel plates, image converters, image intensifiers, applications, radiography
Laboratories d'Electronique et de Physique Appliquée, Limeil-Brevannes,