X-ray

Definition

noun, plural: X-rays

(1) A ray characterized generally by its wavelength ranging from 0.01 to 10 nm, and corresponding to frequencies ranging from 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz, and with an energy in the range of 100 eV to 100 keV

(2) A radiograph, i.e. a photograph from using an X-ray machine

(3) The X-ray machine


Supplement

The electromagnetic spectrum pertains to the entire range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. It includes gamma rays, X-rays, UV, visible light, infrared, microwaves, and radio waves.

X-rays are rays characterized by wavelengths ranging from 0.01 to 10 nm, and corresponding to frequencies ranging from 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz, and having energies in the range of 100 eV to 100 keV. X-rays may be soft or hard. Soft X-rays are those in the electromagnetic spectrum between UV and gamma rays. Their wavelengths vary from about 10 nm to about 100 picometers. Hard X-rays are those in the electromagnetic spectrum as gamma rays. The difference lies in the way they are produced. X-rays are produced when electrons are accelerated whereas gamma rays are formed from atomic nuclei.

In medicine, X-rays are used in radiography, an imaging technique that employs X-radiation in order to view the internal structures, for instance of a human body. Therefore, X-radiation has become an essential diagnostic tool to detecting pathologies of the skeletal system and soft tissues (e.g. chest X-rays).


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