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Why are X-rays Emitted when electrons are focused on Heavy metals

Asked by sureshkalanjoor 18th August 2016, 7:35 PM
Answered by Expert

During X-ray emission, the kinetic energy of a photon is converted into X-rays. 

A fast moving electron knocks out an inner electron from an atom of the target element. A vacancy is created, an electron from filled higher energy level jumps into the vacancy and the excess energy is released as a photon. This process produces characteristic X-rays.

If the vacancy is created in K shell and electron from the L shell fills the vacancy then the emitted photon is a Kα – X-ray. If a vacancy is created in the K-shell and an electron from the M shell fills this vacancy then the X-ray emitted is known as a kβ X-ray.

So, characteristic x-rays are emitted from heavy elements when their electrons make transitions between the lower atomic energy levels. 

Heavy metals which are used have following characteristics:

  • High atomic
  • Ability to maintain its strength at high temperatures
  • High melting point
  • Relatively low rate of evaporation.
Answered by Expert 22nd August 2016, 12:39 PM
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