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The absorption of x-ray photons is depected in the applet below which shows x-ray photons passing into a block of material (gray) on their way from the x-ray source (above the block) to the x-ray detector (film below the block).
The linear absorption coefficient, µ, is the sum of contributions of the photon matter interactions listed above.

The Applet allows the user to choose material, material thickness (0.1 to 100 cm), and energy range* (lowest and highest energy).
The "Emit Energy" button allows observation of individual photon interactions. The "Auto" button calculates and displays sequentially 200 x-ray photon events.

*Real x-ray sources have a nonuniform distribution of photon energies for a given operating kilovoltage. This applet assumes a uniform distribution of energies between the lowest and highest energies, allowing the user to investigate absorption and attenuation at specific energies.


See Modified Applet with a typical energy spectrum of a generic x-ray tube.

Exercise: Verify that the number of photon absorbed via the photoelectric effect (PE) is about the same as the number of photons experiencing incoherent Compton Scattering (C) in Aluminum A 2024 around 62 KeV.