The AAPM/RSNA Physics Tutorial for Residents: X-ray Generators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The x-ray generator delivers the electrical power to energize the x-ray tube and permits the selection of x-ray energy, x-ray quantity, and exposure time. Major internal components of the generator include transformers, diodes and rectifier circuits, filament and stator circuits, timer switches, and kilovolt and milliampere meters. Single-phase, three-phase, high-frequency, and constant potential generators produce different voltage waveforms (ripple) and x-ray beam spectra. Phototimer and automatic brightness control subsystems measure radiation exposure incident on the image receptor to give instantaneous feedback for optimal radiographic film densities and fluoroscopic image brightness, respectively. At the generator control console, the operator sets the tube voltage, tube current, exposure time, phototimer film density, spot film acquisition, and fluoroscopic parameters. Selection of generator power and options depends on the intended clinical use. X-ray tube focal spot size and power loading capability should be matched to the x-ray generator and clinical imaging requirements. Single and multiple exposure rating charts as well as anode and housing thermal characteristic charts indicate power input and dissipation rates specific to a generator and x-ray tube target and housing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1533-1557
Number of pages25
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1997


  • Physics
  • Radiography, technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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