UKPCS Science: X-Rays #17

Oracle IAS, the best coaching institute for UPSC/IAS/PCS preparation in Dehradun brings to you UKPCS Science (paper #6).

X-rays are at the short wavelength, high energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Only gamma rays carry more energy.

Soft X-rays

These x-rays are defined by having photon energies below 10keV. They have less energy than the hard x-rays, therefore they have longer wavelength. Soft X-rays are used in radiography to take pictures of bones and internal organs. Because of their lower energy, they do not cause much damage to tissues, unless they are repeated too often.

Hard X-rays

Hard X-rays have photon energies above 10 keV. They have shorter wavelength than the soft x-rays. These X-rays are used in radiotherapy, a treatment for cancer. Due to their higher energy, they destroy molecules within specific cells, thus destroying tissue. Another use for these X-rays is in airport security scanners to examine baggage.

The X-rays were discovered in 8th November in 1895 when Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen was working with a cathode ray tube in his laboratory. X-rays for medical diagnostic procedures are produced in a X-ray tube.

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