Beryllium is heavily used in x-ray transmission windows despite the fact that it is a toxic material, simply because there was no practical alternative available. This changes now as Sebastian Hübner took up the challenge in his PhD work and put the strength of the sp2-bonds in graphene and carbon to the test.
In a project, sponsored by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, he teamed up with collaborators from the company KETEK GmbH to find an environmentally friendly, non-toxic alternative to Beryllium that has even a measurable performance benefit.
The properties of graphenic carbon enable the design and fabrication of a the novel x-ray transmission window which has improved transmission in the low energy region while demonstrating excellent mechanical stability, as well as light and vacuum tightness. Therefore, the new graphenic carbon window, can replace beryllium in x-ray transmission windows with a nontoxic and abundant material solution.
The paper "High Performance X-Ray Transmission Windows Based on Graphenic Carbon" describing the solution has just been published in the journal IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON NUCLEAR SCIENCE and an open-access preprint can be downloaded here.