What Produces X-Rays?

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What Produces X-Rays?....5

X-rays are produced, basically, within an atom as the energy of the electrons in the atom drop to lower energy levels. Use a metal target and an electron gun to create x-rays with help from a science teacher in this free video on x-rays and electromagnetic radiation.

Part of the Video Series: X-Ray Production
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Steve Jones, and I'm going to explain what produces x-rays. Now, x-rays are produced basically within an atom as the energy of the electrons in the atom drop to the very bottom level, and it's very often metal atoms. And it's this transition from the higher energy levels of electrons down to the lower energy levels, but this is about electrons in metals. Now, normally we do this by having a target and something which accelerates electrons, so we have a thing called an electron gun. This is it here, and this electron gun shoots electrons through to a thing called a target, logically. And the target, when hit by these electrons, the electrons within the metal of the target, the metal surface of the target within these electrons are pushed into higher levels like this. They're pushed up into the higher levels, and then they fall back into this lower level. Falling back into this lower lower level creates x-rays, so the x-rays actually come out of the target, and the x-rays are related to the material of the target. The material of the target it is which produces the x-rays and the x-rays are characteristic of that. They produce certain wavelengths. The wavelengths depends on the change of energy, so if we have energies here, E1 and E naught, if it falls between the two subtract the two energies. You get the energy that is created or the energy that's produced to produce the x-ray and you use this formula H nu; this is nu, a Greek letter, H nu, nu is the frequency. So, the frequency of the of the x-ray, these things which are produced here, the frequency of the x-ray depends on the change of energy. And that is what produces x-rays.

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