For decades we’ve been working on innovations at the edge of what is physically possible.

September 29, 2021

Thanks to the pioneering spirit of visionaries like Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Godfrey Hounsfield or Nikola Tesla we can build and co-create solutions today that are leading the way…

It’s no surprise that some of these visionaries have been awarded by the Nobel academic institution for “the greatest benefit to humankind”. Being associated with their names is an honor. Not for the fame, but because we believe that in a world of limited resources, innovation improves our daily lives, and those forward-looking people are the essence of it.


X-Ray Modules:

1979 - Nobel Prize in Medicine

Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield


Developing the first CT scanner

In 1967, when he was asked to develop a new product line by his employer (EMI), professor Godfrey Hounsfield suggested what eventually became CT scanning. 

In 1968 Hounsfield was granted UK Patent No. 1283915 for "A Method of and Apparatus for Examination of a Body by Radiation such as X or Gamma Radiation" for his new scanner and its technology — co-developed with Allan Cormack.

Thanks to the expertise of our X-Ray Modules business (Comet X-ray) that delivered a tailor-made x-ray tube, he was able to conduct the first clinical CT scan on 1 October 1, 1971 at the Atkinson Morley Hospital. He became the first to show discrimination between soft tissues, tumors and blood clots in clinical use at acceptable cost and dose. For this impressive milestone, he was awarded with the Nobel prize for “physiology or Medicine” in 1979.

Plasma Control Technologies:

1917 - Suggest. Nobel Prize in Physics

Nikola Tesla


Building on the genius' legacy

In November 1915, the New York Times suggested that the father of our Comet Plasma Control Technologies' vacuum capacitors Nikola Tesla together with inventor Edison were to share that year's Nobel Prize in Physics.

Which didn’t happen. The Nobel Prize in Physics 1915 was awarded jointly to Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg "for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays." Rumors say that he refused to share it with his old rival. Nevertheless, Tesla was the recipient of the Edison Medal in 1917, the highest honor that the American Institute of Electrical Engineers could bestow. 

Nikola Tesla patented the first vacuum capacitor in 1896 but the production started only in the 40's. A milestone we are closely linked to thanks to our former licensor Machlett Laboratories from which we got all the legacy.


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X-Ray Systems:

1901 - Nobel Prize in Physics

Carl Heinrich Florenz Müller and Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen


Creating the first x-rays

The long history of our X-Ray systems business (Yxlon) dates back to the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895 and the construction of the first X-ray tube by Carl Heinrich Florenz Müller in Hamburg in 1896.

Röntgen, the very first scientist in the world to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in November 1901, made an enormous contribution to society by enabling faster and more effective detection of disease through X-rays and later enabling improved safety through industrial inspection.

But all this would have been nothing if Carl Heinrich Florenz Müller had not created the first X-ray tube based on Röntgen's invention.

In 1927, the company passed from C.H.F. Müller into the ownership of Philips AG. The Philips Industrial X-ray Division, which formed over time alongside the Medical X-ray business, became independent in 1997 under the name Yxlon International and has been part of the Comet Group since 2007.


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Milestones at a glance

Milestones in the history of X-Ray Systems


1a -  Discovery of x-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895
1b - Based on Röntgen’s discovery, Carl Heinrich Florenz Müller, a native Thuringian glass-blower and factory owner, developed the first X-ray tube in Hamburg in 1896
1c - In 1901 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen get awarded Nobel Prize in Physics
1d - Takeover of the firm C.H.F. Müller Röntgenwerke, better known as ‘Röntgenmüller’, by the Philips GmbH (DPG) in 1927
1e - Foundation of Philips Industrial X-Ray as an independent limited-liability company within the Philips corporate group in 1993
1f - Founding of YXLON International X-ray GmbH as the result of a management buy-out through Dr. Joseph M. Kosanetzky and Reinhard Bönisch and the merger of Philips Industrial X-Ray (Hamburg, Germany) and ANDREX (Copenhagen, Denmark) in 1998
1g - Comet Acquires Yxlon International GmbH in 2007

Milestones in the history of X-Ray Modules

(Comet X-ray)

2a - 1948 Comet AG founded by Gerhard Steck (Company for electric tubes) in Bern
2b - Start of the research for the first CT scanner by Pr. Hounsfield and his team. Comet delivers a tailor-made x-ray tubes for this word premiere in 1967
2c - Patent filed for the first CT Scan in 1968
2d - Prof. Hounsfield demonstrates the first image extracted from a CT scan in 1971
2e - Prof. Hounsfield was awarded jointly to Allan M. Cormack the Nobel Prize for medecine in 1979

Milestones in the history of Plasma Control Technologies

(Comet PCT)

3a - Nikola Tesla filed the first patent for a vacuum capacitor in 1896
3b - The New York Times reported in a front-page article in 1915 that Tesla was to share that year's Nobel Prize in physics with Edison
3c - Tesla is awarded the Edison Medal in 1917
3d - 1942 First Commercialization of vacuum capacitors. Machlett Laboratories is one of the first companies making the invention available.
3e - First production of Vacuum capacitors under the Comet brand licensed by Machlett Laboratories in 1965
3f - Machlett is sold to Eimac, but Comet continues producing and selling vacuum capacitors under its own brand. The Comet team absorbed the knowhow to further develop the technologie.
Sources: Comet PCT - Service Bulletin Feb 94 |  The history of Comet AG 1948-2001, Archives  |  Yxlon - History The legacy of the man who pioneered computed tomography  |  Comet Group Annual report 2018  |  Did Tesla ever receive the Nobel prize?   |  Info about  Tesla  -  Hounsfield  -  Müller - Röntgen  on Wikipedia |  Info about the Nobel Prize (nominees, awarded)  |  Philips in Hamburg  |  Gründung C.H.F Müller  

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