X-rays are typically produced cheaply and effectively with specialized vacuum tubes which use a high applied voltage to accelerate electrons towards a target. When the electrons are deflected by the electric fields within the atoms of the target, x-rays are emitted if the electrons were accelerated with enough energy. This method tends to produce strong thin x-ray lines at or below the maximum kinetic energy imparted onto the electron by the acceleration.
In this device I propose a simplified version of the original design below, designed to emit a spectra of bremsstrahlung x-rays by impact with salt water that has an induced electric field at it’s surface. Here the creeping of the water up the side of the vessel is deleterious to the E-field at the impact surface of the water. The design would be further improved with the use of low density target conductors such as graphite or conductive polymers.
The device I propose would theoretically produce a wide spectra of x-rays from high energy beta- particles. A rod containing a significant amount of thorium-234 is placed in the center of a water-tight chamber that is perhaps a third or quarter full of salt water. This chamber is then placed in a second water tight chamber containing a similar amount of salt water. Electrodes enter into the water from the bottom of the vessels. A high voltage is introduced between the electrodes, causing the water at the edges of the inner vessel to accumulate charge and crawl up the sides of the glass. The negatively charged electrode will be in the inner chamber, and the water in the inner chamber will be negatively charged. An electric field will occur at the surface of the water in the inner chamber that will decelerate any incident negatively charged beta particles. The electric field will vary based on the thickness of water between the point of impact and the glass wall, with a higher field being encountered where the water is thinnest. The varying amounts of braking will then theoretically produce a spectra of X-ray wavelengths. The produced x-rays will not, however, be the only radiation produced. Th-234 decays into PA-234 which has a shorter half-life and produces a beta- particle with a high energy on the order of 2.2 MeV. These particles will cause additional Cherenkov emissions.