X-rays, What Are They? 2:7 X-rays, What Are They? 3:7  »

The electron (much lighter than the nucleus) comes very close to the nucleus and the electromagnetic interaction causes a deviation of the trajectory where the electron looses energy and an X-ray photon is emitted.


X-rays, What Are They?

Bremsstrahlung X-rays


In an X-ray tube the electrons emitted from the cathode are accelerated towards the metal target anode by an accelerating voltage of typically 50 kV. The high energy electrons interact with the atoms in the metal target. Sometimes the electron comes very close to a nucleus in the target and is deviated by the electromagnetic interaction. In this process, which is called bremsstrahlung (braking radiation), the electron looses much energy and a photon (X-ray) is emitted. The energy of the emitted photon can take any value up to a maximum corresponding to the energy of the incident electron.


Related Laureate

 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1901 - Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen  »    

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