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What are applications of X-rays?

by Harpreet_Physics


In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays. While studying whether cathode rays could pass through glass, he discovered X-rays. Also,William Roentgen got the Nobel Prize in 1901 for his studies. However, applications of X-rays are innumerable.

An X-ray is a photon. This simply means that it is a packet of electromagnetic energy. This originates from the electron cloud of an atom.  X ray produced when an electron moves from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. As a result this causes the release of excess energy. 

Properties of X-Rays

  • X-rays are electromagnetic in nature. Wavelength of X-ray lies in the range from 1 Å to 100 Å.
  • X-rays are having high-energy waves as compared to visible light, UV, infrared radiations, microwaves, and radio waves.
  • X-rays have the ability to ionize the atoms and molecules of matter.
  • They can travel with the velocity of light i. e. 3 x108 ms-1.
  • X-rays do not possess any charge. That is why magnetic or electric fields don’t deflect these rays.
  • An X-ray can produce a photoelectric effect also fluorescence in certain metals.

Applications of X-rays

X-rays are electromagnetic radiation. These are well-known for their ability to see through a person’s skin. These are also useful in revealing the images of the bones. 

With the help of advanced technology we can produce more powerful and focused X-ray. This powerful and focused X-ray led to many applications like imaging teeny biological cells and structural components of materials like cement and to killing cancer cells.

Rather than using X-rays in medical imaging, we have many other applications too. 

  • These are useful in diagnosis. With the help of X-rays we can view structures of bone and it also helps to detect the breakage in human bones.
  • To minimize the absorption of low energy X-rays, hard X-ray are useful. To prevent transmission of the lower energy a filter is placed over the X-ray tube.
  • The high atomic mass of calcium atoms in teeth and bones are present. This helps to absorb X-ray, allowing most of the other radiation to pass through the body.
  • CT scans (Computer tomography), radiotherapy and fluoroscopy also involve X-ray diagnostic techniques.
  • These are also useful cancer treatments with  therapeutic techniques,
  • These are useful for crystallography, astronomy, microscopy, industrial radiography, spectroscopy, fluorescence and to implode fission devices.
  • This also have use in the creative field. It helps to create art and also to analyze paintings. 
  • Banned uses of X rays include hair removal and shoe-fitting fluoroscopes. These were popular in the 1920s.
  • These are also useful for airport security. They are used as a scanner to scan the luggage of passengers in airports and other places.
  • Celestial objects emits these rays and is studied to understand the environment.
  • It is widely used to detect defects in the welds.

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