this reading this section you will be able to do the following:
the three things needed to generate X-rays.
what role electrons play in the creation of X-rays.
So far our discussion has been primarily
centered around radioactive elements, the structure of the atom,
and the phenomenon of radioactivity. As mentioned earlier, another
type of radiation commonly utilized is X-radiation. Where as gamma
radiation is one of the products of nuclear decay of radioactive
elements, X-rays are produced in high voltage electron tubes.
You will recall from the history section that W.C. Roentgen discovered
X-rays in the late 1800's while working with a cathode tube in
his lab. X-rays can be produced in parcels of energy called photons,
just like light.
do you generate an X-ray?
To generate X-rays, we must have three
things. We need to have a source of electrons, a means of accelerating
the electrons at high speeds, and a target material to receive
the impact of the electrons and interact with them.
Why do we need
electrons to produce x-rays?
X-rays are generated when free electrons
give up some of their energy when they interact with the orbital
electrons or nucleus of an atom. The energy given up by the electron
during this interaction appears as electromagnetic energy known
as X-radiation. There are two different atomic processes that
can produce x-ray photons. One is called Bremsstrahlung and the
other is called K-shell emission. X-rays produced by Bremsstrahlung
are the most useful for medical and industrial applications.
Take this link to learn about a
phenomenon in the generation of x-rays called Bremsstrahlung: