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Electromagnetic Radiation Assignment: X Rays The History Of X Rays, How They Can Help Health Services + Science, Why They Exist, How To Detect X Rays.

1756 words - 7 pages

X-rays, the savior of hospitals, the scientific interest of many. In October 1895 a German physicist named Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen stood round a device called a Crooke's tube, trying to find out more about it. He had covered the tube with black paper, and in a dark laboratory room, he noticed an eerie green glow appeared when the tube was turned on. No matter how many pieces of cardboard he placed in front of the tube, the glow continued. A photographic plate that was lying near the tube was blackened, and from this he could tell that some type of invisible rays must be coming out of the Crooke's tube. Roentgen named these 'invisible rays' x-rays, x being the unknown.One place x-rays are being used in society is in dental clinics and hospitals. An x-ray picture, or a radiograph is used to take pictures of limbs, bones and organs, they go through the tissue but are stopped by the bones. In a hospital, a radiographer will stand behind a screen, while the patient being x-rayed stands between an x-ray tube and photographic film, and the rays will pass through the body on to the film. Though x-rays allow doctors to see through the skin that beforehand could only be seen by cutting a person up, too much x-radiation can be deadly and lead to cancer. The risk of getting cancer from x-rays is .01%; even so the patient and the radiographer must take special precautions to be protected from these harmful rays. The patient will have everything but the area being x-rayed covered by lead, and the radiographer may wear a lead suit, and/or have a lead screen in front of him. Lead is used because x-rays are almost completely stopped by this metal. X-rays travel at the speed of light, just like radio waves, micro-waves, infra-red, ultraviolet and gamma rays. All these rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. From studying the way waves move and the energy they possess, we have found out that x-rays have the second highest energy level on the electromagnetic spectrum, closely following gamma rays. The wavelength is very short, only 1/1000000 cm, compared to visible light which has a wavelength of 1/1000 cm. We know that x-rays travel at 300,000 km/s, and that the wavelength is 10 cm, so to find the frequency we can do velocity/wavelength. This would be: 300,000,000/.00000001 = 3,000,000 Hz.The amplitude or energy of an x-ray is equal to its brightness. Intense x-rays can cause burning just like visible light, the higher the amplitude the worse the burn. X-rays differ from visible light because they can pass through materials. Visible light is reflected, refracted and absorbed.X-ray and gamma radiation are both harmful, and they both create ions (electrically charged atoms) in substances that they pass through. Scientists have discovered that living cells are damaged by ionizing radiation, and high dosages can completely kill the cells. To protect radiographers from becoming over exposed to x-radiation, they must wear badges made out of photographic film, and...

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