In the history of physics, X-rays are a quite recent discovery. Shortly after Conrad Röntgen had detected the first human made "X-Strahlen", X-rays where used for medical imaging purposes. Since then the number of applications and methods using X-rays have increased tremendously. The table below will give a short time table of the history of X-ray optics.
|Birth of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in Remscheid-Lennep
|Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen
|Discovery of X-rays in the late evening of Friday, 8. November 1895 in the former "Physikalischen Institut der Universität Würzburg". W. C. Röntgen called them "X-Strahlen".
|W. C. Röntgen
|Application for publication of W. C. Röntgen: "Über eine neue Art von Strahlen" (On a New Kind of Rays) at the "Physikalisch-medizinische Gesellschaft Würzburg" (physical-medical association)
|W. C. Röntgen
|First public talk of W. C. Röntgen invited by the "Physikalisch-medizinische Gesellschaft Würzburg" (physical-medical association) on "Über eine neue Art von Strahlen" (On a New Kind of Rays). At this convention the famous anatomist and privy councillor Rudolf Albert von Koelliker suggested to call X-rays "Roentgenstrahlen" (the term used in german language today).
|W. C. Röntgen, R. A. von Koelliker
|Developement of water-cooled anodes for X-ray tubes by "C.H.F. Müller Röntgenwerk"
|Carl Heinrich, Florenz Müller
|Barkla and Sadler discover characteristic X-ray radiation
Discovery of the principle of X-ray diffraction by von Laue, Friedrich, and Knipping
|Max von Laue, Friedrich and Knipping
|Henry Moseley establishes the relation between atomic number and the specific X-ray wavelength of elements (Moseley's law) which is the fundament of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy
|Bragg, father and son, build an X-ray spectrometer
|Max von Laue receives the Nobel Prize for physics, for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays on crystals
|Max von Laue
|The Nobel prize winner W. L. Bragg publishes his theoretical explanation of "The Diffraction of Short Electromagnetic Waves by a Crystal"
|W. L. Bragg
|W. L. Bragg receives the Nobel Prize
|W. L. Bragg
|Siegbahn and Stenstrom observe X-ray emission satellites
|Barkla receives the Nobel Prize
|Wentzel observes two-electron excitations
|Meitner discovers Auger electrons
|Lindh and Lundquist resolve chemical shifts
|Siegbahn receives the Nobel Prize
|Philips patents the safe Metalix tube, takes over Muller and concentrates tube manufacturing in Eindhoven and Hamburg.
|Coster and Druyvesteyn observe valence-core multiplets
|Johann develops bent-crystal spectroscopy
|In cooperation with the US Naval Research Laboratories, North American Philips develops the world's first commercial X-ray diffractometer, which is branded Norelco, soon to be followed by the well-known Philips PW1050 diffractometer.
|Hans Wolter designes an aplanatic system of grazing incidence mirrors satisfying the Abbe sine condition (i.e. free of both spherical aberration and coma) used in Wolter telescopes
|Development of first prototypes of computer tomographs
|Allan M. Cormack, Godfrey Hounsfield, A. Sasov et al
|Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA; Hayes, UK; Moscow
|First rocket-borne telescope takes X-ray pictures of the sun.
|John V. Lindsay et al
|NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
|Launch of the PW1400 family of XRF spectrometers, rapidly becoming the standard in the industry
|First computer tomographic image of a human
|First orbiting X-ray telescope flies on Skylab and records over 35,000 full-disk images of the sun over a nine month period.
|The first successful X-ray image of an extra-solar object is obtained using a Kirkpatrick-Baez mirror coupled with an imaging proportional counter to obtain an image of the Virgo cluster of galaxies.
|Paul Gorenstein et al
|Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
|First use of Wolter optics for extra-solar astronomy
|Saul Rappaport et al
|First orbiting X-ray telescope, the Einstein Observatory
Nobel Prize (medicine) for Allan M. Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield for the development of computer tomography
|Use of "European Space Agency's X-ray Observatory" (EXOSAT)
|"Roentgen Satellite" (ROSAT) mission
|"Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics" (ASCA): the first satellite using CCD-detectors for X-ray astronomy
|First soft X-ray scanning transmission microscope (STXM)
|Herbert Göbel presents the so called Göbel mirrors at the Denver X-ray conference
|"Chandra X-Ray Observatory" (CXO) in use