X-ray is used for

By: Tom Harris. As with many of mankind's monumental discoveries, X-ray technology was invented completely by accident. Ina German physicist named Wilhelm Roentgen made the discovery while experimenting with electron beams in a gas discharge tube. Roentgen noticed that a fluorescent screen in his lab started to glow when the electron beam was turned on.

This response in itself wasn't so surprising -- fluorescent material normally glows in reaction to electromagnetic radiation -- but Roentgen's tube was surrounded by heavy black cardboard.

Roentgen assumed this would have blocked most of the radiation. Roentgen placed various objects between the tube and the screen, and the screen still glowed. Finally, he put his hand in front of the tube, and saw the silhouette of his bones projected onto the fluorescent screen. Immediately after discovering X-rays themselves, he had discovered their most beneficial application. Roentgen's remarkable discovery precipitated one of the most important medical advancements in human history.

X-ray technology lets doctors see straight through human tissue to examine broken bones, cavities and swallowed objects with extraordinary ease. Modified X-ray procedures can be used to examine softer tissue, such as the lungsblood vessels or the intestines. In this article, we'll find out exactly how X-rays machines pull off this incredible trick.

As it turns out, the basic process is really very simple. X-rays are basically the same thing as visible light rays. Both are wavelike forms of electromagnetic energy carried by particles called photons see How Light Works for details. The difference between X-rays and visible light rays is the energy level of the individual photons.

This is also expressed as the wavelength of the rays. Our eyes are sensitive to the particular wavelength of visible light, but not to the shorter wavelength of higher energy X-ray waves or the longer wavelength of the lower energy radio waves. Visible light photons and X-ray photons are both produced by the movement of electrons in atoms.

Electrons occupy different energy levels, or orbitals, around an atom's nucleus. When an electron drops to a lower orbital, it needs to release some energy -- it releases the extra energy in the form of a photon. The energy level of the photon depends on how far the electron dropped between orbitals. See this page for a detailed description of this process. When a photon collides with another atom, the atom may absorb the photon's energy by boosting an electron to a higher level.

How X-rays see through your skin - Ge Wang

For this to happen, the energy level of the photon has to match the energy difference between the two electron positions. If not, the photon can't shift electrons between orbitals. The atoms that make up your body tissue absorb visible light photons very well. The energy level of the photon fits with various energy differences between electron positions.

x-ray is used for

Radio waves don't have enough energy to move electrons between orbitals in larger atoms, so they pass through most stuff. X-ray photons also pass through most things, but for the opposite reason: They have too much energy.An X-ray, also known as radiography, is a medical imaging technique.

It uses very small amounts of electromagnetic radiation to create images of structures inside the body that can be viewed on film or digitally. X-rays often are done to view bones and teeth, making them useful for diagnosing breaks, fractures, and diseases such as arthritis. A doctor may order an X-ray to look at organs and structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and breasts, and in the abdomen to evaluate the digestive tract.

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The tiny particles of electromagnetic radiation emitted by an X-ray machine pass through all but the most solid of objects in the body.

As such, the image it creates, known as a radiographis useful for doctors interested in visualizing significant internal structures. Sometimes a contrast medium, a type of dye, is introduced into the body to help images show up in greater detail. The individual elements render in various shades of white and grey. Because bones and metal objects are solid, less radiation passes through them, making them appear white on the radiograph.

Skin, muscle, blood and other fluids, and fat will be grey because they allow the largest amount of radiation to pass through. Areas where there is nothing to stop the beam of radiation, such as air, or even a fracture, will appear black compared to surrounding tissue. X-ray technology is used throughout the medical world for a multitude of purposes. Conventional X-ray images can be very useful to doctors in evaluating symptoms that originate inside the body as well as diagnosing injuries.

Among the most common uses of conventional X-ray are:. Having an X-ray doesn't hurt and isn't particularly dangerous, but there are few things to be aware of and to discuss with your doctor. Having frequent X-rays can carry a very low risk of developing cancer later in life. This is because the radiation has enough energy to potentially damage DNA.

There are varying estimates as to how significant this risk is. What is known is that fluoroscopy and computed tomography both expose the body to more radiation than a single conventional X-ray. The U. It is important to weigh the risks and benefits of having an X-ray, CT scan, or fluoroscopy with your doctor. Ask if the imaging study will make an impact on your care. If not, it may be advisable to skip the test.

However, if a diagnosis or potential changes in your treatment are likely to depend on the results of the X-ray, then it will most likely be worth the small risk.

x-ray is used for

There may be some small risks associated with contrast mediums used during X-ray procedures, particularly for people who have asthma or other conditions. Barium-sulfate contrast materials are perfectly safe for most people, but there are some circumstances that can put a person at an increased risk of serious side effects such as throat swelling, difficulty breathing, and more.

After being injected with a contrast dye made from iodinea small percentage of people may develop a delayed reaction hours or even days later.An X-rayor X-radiationis a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation.

X-ray wavelengths are shorter than those of UV rays and typically longer than those of gamma rays. Before their discovery inX-rays were just a type of unidentified radiation emanating from experimental discharge tubes.

They were noticed by scientists investigating cathode rays produced by such tubes, which are energetic electron beams that were first observed in Many of the early Crookes tubes invented around undoubtedly radiated X-rays, because early researchers noticed effects that were attributable to them, as detailed below. Crookes tubes created free electrons by ionization of the residual air in the tube by a high DC voltage of anywhere between a few kilovolts and kV.

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This voltage accelerated the electrons coming from the cathode to a high enough velocity that they created X-rays when they struck the anode or the glass wall of the tube. The earliest experimenter thought to have unknowingly produced X-rays was actuary William Morgan. In he presented a paper to the Royal Society of London describing the effects of passing electrical currents through a partially evacuated glass tube, producing a glow created by X-rays.

When Stanford University physics professor Fernando Sanford created his "electric photography" he also unknowingly generated and detected X-rays.

From to he had studied in the Hermann Helmholtz laboratory in Berlin, where he became familiar with the cathode rays generated in vacuum tubes when a voltage was applied across separate electrodes, as previously studied by Heinrich Hertz and Philipp Lenard. Starting inPhilipp Lenard conducted experiments to see whether cathode rays could pass out of the Crookes tube into the air. He built a Crookes tube with a "window" in the end made of thin aluminum, facing the cathode so the cathode rays would strike it later called a "Lenard tube".

He found that something came through, that would expose photographic plates and cause fluorescence. He measured the penetrating power of these rays through various materials. It has been suggested that at least some of these "Lenard rays" were actually X-rays. In Ukrainian -born Ivan Puluja lecturer in experimental physics at the Prague Polytechnic who since had been constructing various designs of gas-filled tubes to investigate their properties, published a paper on how sealed photographic plates became dark when exposed to the emanations from the tubes.

Hermann von Helmholtz formulated mathematical equations for X-rays. It was formed on the basis of the electromagnetic theory of light. In Nikola Tesla noticed damaged film in his lab that seemed to be associated with Crookes tube experiments and began investigating this radiant energy of "invisible" kinds. He noticed a faint green glow from the screen, about 1 meter away.

He found they could also pass through books and papers on his desk. Two months after his initial discovery, he published his paper. The photograph of his wife's hand was the first photograph of a human body part using X-rays. When she saw the picture, she said "I have seen my death.An x-ray is an image created on photographic film or electronically on a digital system to diagnose illnesses and injuries.

During this type of medical imaging procedure, an x-ray machine is used to take pictures of the inside of the body. The x-rays pass through various parts of the body to produce images of tissues, organs, and bones. Some of these tests such as x-rays involve exposure to ionizing radiation which can present risks. However, if patients understand the benefits and risks, they can make the best decisions about their health care.

Most people have had one or more medical imaging tests that use ionizing radiation. The type of imaging procedure that your doctor may suggest will depend on your health concern and the part of the body that is being examined.

What Are the Uses of X-Rays?

Some other common examples of imaging tests include:. X-ray imaging tests are painless procedures that allow doctors to diagnose diseases and injuries without being invasive. These tests also help doctors to:. As in many areas of medicine, there are risks associated with the use of x-ray imaging, which uses ionizing radiation to create images of the body.

Because the amount of radiation used in a normal x-ray procedure is small, there is a small risk for the patient. Talk to your physician about the potential risks and benefits from the medical procedures.

In many cases, the risk of an x-ray procedure to the mother and the unborn child is very small compared to the benefit of finding out about the medical condition of the mother or the child. Many doctors use ultrasound to examine the abdomen, pelvic area, or heart. Ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation, so it does not expose women of childbearing age to radiation in the pelvic area.

This is particularly important in pregnancy. For more information, please see the Image Wisely external icon website. You can reduce risks from medical imaging procedures by telling your doctor if you are, or think you might be, pregnant whenever an abdominal x-ray is suggested by your doctor. Other options suggested by FDA that may be considered are as follows:. In any case, you should feel free to discuss the decision with your doctor.

For more information on medical imaging and pregnancy, please see X-rays, Pregnancy and You external icon. Also, for more information on radiation safety in adult medical imaging, please visit the Image Wisely website external icon. It is important that x-rays and other imaging procedures performed on children use the lowest exposure setting needed to obtain a good clinical image. The FDA external icon also provides information for parents, patients and healthcare providers to address concerns about the benefits and risks of medical imaging procedures for children.

There are medical imaging procedures such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI or ultrasound that do not use ionizing radiation to diagnose illnesses or injuries.Entry 1 of 3 — used as a code word for the letter x x-ray. Accessed 19 Feb.

X-ray telescope

Entry 1 of 2 : to examine and make images of things, such as the bones and organs inside the body by using X-rays X-ray. Entry 1 of 2 : to examine, treat, or photograph with X-rays X-ray. Please tell us where you read or heard it including the quote, if possible. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

We're intent on clearing it up 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'? We're gonna stop you right there Literally How to use a word that literally drives some pe Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice? Test your visual vocabulary with our question Login or Register. Xray communications code word. Save Word. X-ray noun. Other Words from Xray Noun X-ray adjective. First Known Use of Xray Communications code wordin the meaning defined above Verbin the meaning defined above Nounin the meaning defined at sense 1.

How X-rays Work

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Style: MLA. More Definitions for Xray.Medically reviewed by Drugs. Last updated on Dec 6, X-rays are waves of electromagnetic radiation that are used to create images of organs and other structures inside the body.

X-rays have a very short wavelength. As they penetrate the body, they are absorbed in different amounts by different body tissues.

x-ray is used for

For example, bones are dense and absorb X-rays very well, but soft tissues skin, fat, muscle allow more X-rays to pass through. The result is an X-ray shadow on a film or fluorescent screen, where images of bones appear white, while shadows of soft tissues appear as various shades of gray.

In some forms of X-rays, a chemical called contrast medium is given to the patient to help outline a specific body area on X-ray film.

x-ray is used for

This chemical can be swallowed, given as an enema or injected into a vein. The contrast medium appears white on the X-ray film, and can produce a sharp outline of structures such as the digestive tract and the paths of blood vessels.

While X-rays themselves are painless, there may be some mild discomfort from a pin prick or from an enema if contrast medium is used. Some X-rays take less than a minute, while longer X-ray procedures may take an hour or more. X-rays are used for many purposes, including determining if a bone is broken, seeing whether an internal organ is infected, and looking for cancer. There are many different types of X-rays currently used. For example, mammography a series of breast X-rays is the most commonly used screening test for early breast cancer detection.

To check for tumors in precise cross-sections of the body, a computed tomography CT scan provides much more detail than plain x-rays by displaying precise cross-sections of the body. A CT scan is a series of X-rays linked to computer technology. There are many different types of X-ray procedures, and some require special preparation. For example, before having X-rays of your digestive tract, you may need to change your diet, fast entirely or use laxatives or enemas.

Before having mammography, you must avoid using deodorants, body powders, perfumes and body creams, which can produce abnormal shadows in the mammogram image.

You should remove all jewelry from the part of your body to be X-rayed. X-rays can affect a developing fetus. If you are a woman and there is a chance that you might be pregnant, tell your doctor before you have an X-ray.

You likely will be asked to remove your clothing over the part of your body to be X-rayed. You will be given a hospital gown. For certain X-ray procedures, you also will be given a flexible lead apron or other type of protective drape to shield portions of your body from unnecessary X-ray exposure. You will be asked to either stand on the floor or lie or sit on a table in an X-ray room, and a technician will position your body in a way that gives the best X-ray view.

The technician will position the X-ray machine near your body, so that the machine's X-ray tube where the X-rays come out is pointing at the correct body area. After going behind a protective panel, the technician will press a button to take the X-ray picture.

For more specialized series of X-rays, such as mammography or a CT scan, the procedure is slightly more complicated. Your X-rays will be read by a radiologist who will report the result to your doctor.Because of atmospheric absorption, X-ray telescopes must be carried to high altitudes by rockets or balloons or placed in orbit outside the atmosphere. Balloon-borne telescopes can detect the more penetrating harder X-rays, whereas those carried aloft by rockets or in satellites are used to detect softer radiation.

The design of this type of telescope must be radically different from that of a conventional optical telescope. Since X-ray photons have so much energy, they would pass right through the mirror of a standard reflector. X-rays must be bounced off a mirror at a very low angle if they are to be captured. This technique is referred to as grazing incidence. For this reason, the mirrors in X-ray telescopes are mounted with their surfaces only slightly off a parallel line with the incoming X-rays.

Application of the grazing-incidence principle makes it possible to focus X-rays from a cosmic object into an image that can be recorded electronically. Several types of X-ray detectors have been used, involving Geiger countersproportional countersand scintillation counters. These detectors require a large collecting area, because celestial X-ray sources are remote and therefore weak, and a high efficiency for detecting X-rays over the cosmic-ray -induced background radiation is needed.

HEAO-1 mapped the X-ray sources with high sensitivity and high resolution. A much larger X-ray astronomy satellite was launched on June 1,as part of a cooperative program involving the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. One of them, the X-ray telescope, bore many similarities to the equipment of the Einstein Observatory but had a larger geometric area and better mirror resolution. The other operated at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. A position-sensitive proportional counter made it possible to survey the sky at X-ray wavelengths and produced a catalog of more thansources with a positional accuracy of better than 30 arc seconds.

It produced an extended ultraviolet survey with arc minute source positions in this wavelength region, making it the first instrument with such capability. The ROSAT mirrors were gold-coated and permitted detailed examination of the sky from 5 to angstroms. It can obtain high-resolution spectra and images of astronomical objects. X-ray telescope Article Media Additional Info. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies.

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