You are on page 1of 23

X ray discovery

Wilhelm Roentgen and the first X-ray of Mrs.

Roentgen's hand a few days after their discovery.
Roentgen discovered X-Rays in 1895.
Won Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.

What is X-ray ?

Electromagnetic spectrum


Principle of x ray production

Animation of how x ray tube works

Atomic generation of x ray



X -ray spectrum

Quality of x ray beam (energy)

The maximum energy of the x ray photons produced is determined

by the accelerating voltage applied in the tube. The higher the
voltage the more efficient x rays produced.

Quantity of x ray beam (intensity)

The intensity of the x ray beam produced is highly dependent on the anode
material. In general, the higher the atomic number (Z) of the target, the
more efficiently x rays are produced.

Z for Tungsten = 74.

99 % of the electrons energy converted to heat and only 1 %

converted to X rays. (the anode material should have high
melting point or certain mechanism of cooling or heat
dissipation is applied). Melting point for Tungsten is 3400 C

Arrangement for measuring the

attenuation of an X-ray beam
Scattered X rays

X ray

X ray
source Collimator


I = Io e


X cm

The half value layer (HVL) : is the thickness of a given

material that will reduce the beam intensity by one-half .

The half value layer is related to the linear attenuation

coefficient by:
HVL = 0.693 /

the linear attenuation coefficient of a material is dependent

on the energy of the x ray photons and on the material of the

The mass attenuation coefficient is equal to the linear

attenuation coefficient divided by the density of the

m = /

Interaction of X-rays with matter

Low x ray
and high

1 - 30 keV

Photoelectric effect occurs when a x-ray

encounters an electron of an inner shell (K or L).
The electron is ejected (photoelectron) and an
electron of an outer shell drops into the K or L
shell to fill the hole.

Interaction of X-rays with matter

High x ray
and low

30 keV - 20 MeV
Compton effect occurs when a x-ray encounters an
electron from an outer shell with little binding energy
(sometimes called free electron). The electron is
ejected and the remaining energy is re-emitted
immediately in the form of a x-ray. The direction of the
emitted x-ray can be anywhere. Its energy is equal to
the energy of the incident x-ray minus the binding
energy and the kinetic energy of the electron ejected.

Interaction of X-rays with matter

x ray
1.022 Mev

It is the conversion of the x ray energy into two particles

(electron and positron) when it passes in the vicinity of the
nucleus. The x ray photon must exceed 1.02 Mev to be
able to form these particles. The positron disappears by
reconversion into photons in the process of annihilation
with another electron in matter.

Typical Imaging Chain for

Medical X-ray Systems


X-ray source




X ray image

Bone is very dense and absorbs or attenuates a

great deal of the x-rays. The soft tissue around
the bones is much less dense and attenuates or
absorbs far less x-ray energy

Principles involved in casting shadows with visible light


(1) The shadow of an object some distance from a piece of paper is

blurred when a large lightbulb is used.
(2) This shadow can be made much sharper by using a smaller
diameter lightbulb or
(3) by moving the object closer to the paper.

Effect of focal size on the penumbra (next to the shadow area).

P = (f / a). b

Penumbra (next to the shadow) effect

X ray


Grid used to reduce the amount of scattered radiation

good x ray image

1- small focal spot.

2- positioning the patient as close to the film as possible.

3- increasing the distance between the x ray tube and the film as much as
4- reducing the amount of scattered radiation striking the film as much as
5- it is necessary to avoid motion during exposure, since motion causes

Biological Effects of Radiation

-Most Human Body cells can be damaged by ionizing radiation
- Different cell can receive different amounts of radiation before damage can
occur Immature cells (cells that undergo rapid cell division) have a higher
sensitivity to radiation than mature cells

-Lymphocytes (white blood cells) are the most radiosensitive

-Reproductive cells (sperm and ova) are highly sensitive
-Linings and covers of body organs are moderately sensitive
- Muscle and nerve cells are least sensitive

Levels of Biological Effects

1) Molecular
- effects the DNA of a cell. Two possible ways damage may occur:
Direct and Indirect theory
- Direct Hit: the x-ray photon directly hits the nucleus of the cell and destroys the
DNA of the cell, thereby killing it.
- Indirect Hit: the x-ray photon hits the cytoplasm in the cell, surrounding the
nucleus. This causes the water in the cytoplasm to chemically change from H2O to
H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) which produces the cell death.
2) Cellular
- Instant Death: when a dose of about 100,000 RADS is absorbed within a few
- Reproductive Death: when the cell loses its ability to reproduce. A dose of about
100 to 1000 RADS.
- Genetic Death: The cell dies after a few divisions (also known as MITOTIC

3) Organic
- The cellular effects of radiation can cause organic damage.

Two categories of Biological Effect

Genetic Effects -Molecular damage to DNA in reproductive cells can cause biological
damage in offspring. Damage may not show up for generations.
GSD - Genetically Significant Dose
Somatic Effects -Biological damage that happens to the individual and not passed on to the
-Somatic effects are either Short term or Long term.

Short Term Somatic Effects:

- Severe and begin a short time after a large dose of radiation.
this is also known as Acute Radiation Syndrome.
1) Initial Stage - Begins within 48 hours after exposure. Flu like symptoms set in
(i.e. nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, etc.)
2) Latent Stage - Lasts about a week. During this time, the initial symptoms
disappear, and the person feels better. At the same time, changes are taking place
3) Manifest Illness Stage - the person show signs of fever, infection, hemorrhage,
nausea, vomiting, shock, and Death may follow.
4) Recovery Stage - if the dose was not lethal enough, the body starts to heal.
This healing may take weeks.
Long Term Somatic Effects:
Cataractogenesis - the formation of cataracts due to large doses of radiation
Carcinogenesis - the formation of tumors (cancer) due to large doses of radiation
Embryological Effects - the effects on a fetus/embryo form exposure to radiation.
The first trimester is the most sensitive to radiation. Sensitivity decreases in the
2nd and 3rd trimesters.