High Energy X-Rays

High Energy X-Rays

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X-rays are a type of energy that comes from the electromagnetic spectrum. They are super powerful and have a really short wavelength and a high frequency. They are made when electrons go from an outer cloud of an atom to a lower level. This creates super energized photons. X-rays are made in a special tube that speeds up the electrons using electricity. Then, the electrons hit a material and make the X-rays.

The electromagnetic spectrum is a whole bunch of different kinds of energy waves. They have different lengths and different amounts of energy.

There are two types of X-rays: low-energy X-rays and high-energy X-rays. Low-energy X-rays don't have as much energy as high-energy ones. The way they are made is different.

If you want to learn more about X-rays, we have other articles about how they work. Just check out Absorption of X-Rays and X-Ray Image Processing.

What are high-energy X-rays?

HEX-rays, also known as high-energy X-rays, are a special kind of X-ray that has a more energy than regular X-rays or gamma rays. That means they are super powerful!

When electrons that are moving really fast get close to the nucleus of an atom, they get pushed around by the electric field. This makes the electrons emit high-energy X-rays. Atoms have a nucleus, which is made up of positively charged protons and neutral neutrons. The electrons orbit around the nucleus in a cloud and are held together by an electrostatic force. When you put the positive charge of the nucleus and the negative charge of the electrons together, you get an electric field.

So, high-energy X-rays are made when electrons get deflected by this electric field. It's pretty amazing!

How are high-energy X-rays formed? 

High-energy X-rays are created in special machines called synchrotron radiation generators. These machines make use of a process called synchrotron radiation. This is when charged accelerated, and the direction of their acceleration is at a right angle to the direction they are moving. These particles are accelerated using particle accelerators or by using strong magnetic fields.

Particle accelerators are like super-powered machines that speed up charged particles in different directions using powerful electromagnetic fields created by superconducting magnets. This is done in circular beams so that the particles can collide. When these particles collide, they create a lot of energy. Particle accelerators are used for research in particle physics or to make high-energy X-rays and gamma rays. The biggest particle accelerator in the world is called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and is located at the CERN laboratory in Europe. It has a circumference of 27 kilometres and uses superconducting magnets to accelerate particles to almost the speed of light!

Synchrotron radiation machines can be found in labs like the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (the ESRF). High-energy X-rays can go deep into matter, which is really useful for studying physics, material science, and treating cancer.

Characteristics of high-energy X-rays

High-energy X-rays that are formed through synchrotron radiation have a unique set of characteristics. For example, they have a continuous spectrum of photon energies that range between 80keV and 1000keV (kiloelectronvolts). This is different from conventional X-rays, which have much lower energies.

Another difference is that high-energy X-rays have a low absorption ability. This means they can penetrate through matter more easily. They also have a high spatial resolution, which allows researchers to see things in more detail. Additionally, high-energy X-rays have a high penetrating power, so they can go through thick materials.

Another unique characteristic of high-energy X-rays is that the synchrotron radiation they emit is polarised. This means that the electric field of the radiation oscillates in a specific direction. This can be useful for studying the properties of materials.

However, it's important to note that high-energy X-rays can also be harmful to living cells due to their high energy. So, they need to be used with caution and proper safety precautions need to be taken.

Functions of high-energy X-rays

Detecting high-energy X-rays is crucial for their many applications. To detect these X-rays, detectors made of high-density materials with a high mass attenuation coefficient are used. These detectors can be used in cargo inspection, scientific cameras, and XEXITEC ASIC detectors.

Cargo inspection detectors use scintillators coupled with photodiodes to detect high-energy X-rays. Scientific cameras use direct and indirect detection methods, with direct detection using silicon sensors and indirect detection using scintillator materials. XEXITEC ASIC detectors use high-density semiconductors and an array of pixels to measure X-rays with energies in the range of 200keV.

Scintillators are materials that are illuminated when exposed to ionising radiation. They absorb the energy of the radiation and emit visible photons that can be detected by a camera.

Overall, high-energy X-rays have many unique properties that make them useful for a variety of applications, from medical treatment to cargo inspection. Detecting these X-rays is essential for their use, and detectors made of high-density materials with a high mass attenuation coefficient are used for this purpose.

High Energy X-Rays

What is the highest energy X-ray? 

High-energy X-rays usually have energies between 80 and 1000 kiloelectronvolts (keV).

What are high-energy X-rays used for? 

High-energy X-rays are used for various applications, including structural and security inspection, material science research, medical treatment, and industry sterilisation.

How do high-energy X-rays treat cancer?

High-energy X-rays treat cancer by shrinking or killing cancerous cells due to their high energy.

Why are high-energy X-rays used in radiotherapy?

High-energy X-rays are used in radiotherapy because they can damage living cells due to their ability to penetrate matter. Because of their high energy, high-energy X-rays can shrink or kill cancerous cells.

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