90 Years Ago: First Fully Electronic Television – a Milestone in Electron Beam Technology 

From 21 to 30 August 1931, exactly 90 years ago, Manfred von Ardenne and the Radio AG Loewe presented the first television set with electronic scanning at the Berlin Radio Show (8. Große Deutsche Funkausstellung) in Germany.

The device used for the demonstration was based on the image segmentation with 6000 pixels, 100 lines and 20 images per second that had been developed by Manfred von Ardenne. He was the first to use cathode ray tubes both for transmission and reception (flying spot scanner). Thus, he is considered as inventor of modern television. In the course of further research and development work, he was able to increase the image quality and luminance considerable compared to the usual mechanical methods, such as the Nipkow disk. 

Manfred von Ardenne used the properties of the electron beam in a different way for further inventions. In 1937, for instance, he developed and built the first high-resolution scanning electron microscope, which is still indispensable in science. Two years later, he invented the magnetic universal electron microscope, which had the highest resolution worldwide.

The technology was advanced intensively since the late 1950ies at his research institute in Dresden to make it usable for further industries. Electron beams with a much higher electrical power were suitable for melting, welding, and the evaporation of various materials.

Highly precise focused electron beams are used for curing defects in semiconductors and for micro structuring, among other things. High-power electron beam guns  are used for evaporation, welding, and heat treatment in such a broad scope that they are still unrivalled. They are applied in industries such as metallurgy, aviation, electronics, and packaging or for manufacturing the next generation of fuel cells or lithium-ion batteries. Furthermore, electron beams are also used for radiosterilization.  

Electron beam evaporation is one of our key technologies, together with magnetron sputtering. More than 400 VON ARDENNE electron beam systems are in operation around the world.

Source: Barkleit, Gerhard (2006): Manfred von Ardenne. Selbstverwirklichung im Jahrhundert der Diktaturen. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, p. 40f.