The electrons are liberated from the heated filament and accelerated by a high voltage towards the metal target. .How Are X-rays Made? ‡ X-rays are produced when electrons strike a metal target. The X-rays are produced when the electrons collide with the atoms and nuclei of the metal target.

. But the debates over the nature of the rays waves or particles? continued until the wave-particle duality was generally accepted in the 1920s.What Are They? Several important experiments around 1910 suggested that they are electromagnetic waves of shorter wavelength and higher energy than normal light. Photons can be described both as waves and particles.X-rays. What Are They? ‡ The penetrating rays discovered by Röntgen in 1895 .

In this process. The high energy electrons interact with the atoms in the metal target.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. . which is called bremsstrahlung (braking radiation). Sometimes the electron comes very close to a nucleus in the target and is deviated by the electromagnetic interaction. 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.

When detected this X-ray photon gives rise to a characteristic X-ray line in the energy spectrum.Characteristic X-ray Lines ‡ The high energy electron can also cause an electron close to the nucleus in a metal atom to be knocked out from its place. is emitted as a monoenergetic photon. . Barkla observed these lines in 1908-09 and was given the 1917 Nobel Prize for this discovery. characteristic of the material. He also made the first experiments suggesting that the X-rays are electromagnetic waves. C. The well defined difference in binding energy. This vacancy is filled by an electron further out from the nucleus.

An X-ray with well-known wavelength can be used to explore the structure of the crystal. For a well-known crystal.X-rays scattered from different layers of atoms can interfere with each other. The interference depends on the wavelength of the X-ray and on the distance between the atom layers. the X-ray properties can be examined .

These X-rays are the messangers revealing information of the cosmos. . several objects and processes in the Universe emit X-rays. In addition. Their wavelength is well suited to study crystal structures and details of the human body.‡ The Electromagnetic Spectrum ‡ X-rays have wavelengths much shorter than visible light. but longer than high energy gamma rays.

X-rays are used a lot in medicine to the great benefit of mankind. they have been used in various applications in science and industry. .X-rays in Use ‡ Because of the many varied properties of Xrays.