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Frequencies: 3 x 1016 Hz upward
Wavelengths: 10 nm - > downward
Quantum energies: 124 eV -> upward
Types of X-Rays
There are 2 types of X rays
1. Characteristic X-Rays
2. Continuous X rays

Continuous X Rays (Bremsstrahlung Radiation)

"Bremsstrahlung" means "braking radiation" and is retained from the original German to describe the
radiation which is emitted when electrons are decelerated or "braked" when they are fired at a metal
It is also called polychromatic, continuous or white radiation. Some electrons lose all the energy in a
single collision with a target atom.

Accelerated charges give off electromagnetic radiation, and when the energy of the bombarding
electrons is high enough, that radiation is in the x-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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It is characterized by a continuous distribution of radiation which becomes more intense and shifts
toward higher frequencies when the energy of the bombarding electrons is increased.
The bombarding electrons can also eject electrons from the inner shells of the atoms of the metal
target, and the quick filling of those vacancies by electrons dropping down from higher levels gives rise
to sharply defined characteristic x-rays.

Characteristic X Rays
Characteristic x-rays are emitted from heavy elements when their electrons make transitions between
the lower atomic energy levels.

Incoming projectile can be high-energy particles, which can be photons, electrons or ions (such as
Vacancy created by electron is called core hole.
The energy difference between the higher and lower states is emitted as X ray.
Each element has a unique set of energy levels, and thus the transition from higher to lower energy
levels produces X-rays with frequencies that are characteristic to each element.
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This is how a characteristic X Ray spectrum

looks like

In this spectrum, the x-rays produced by transitions from the n=2 to n=1 levels are called K-alpha xrays, and those for the n=31 transition are called K-beta x-rays.
Transitions to the n=2 or L-shell are designated as L x-rays (n=32 is L-alpha, n=42 is L-beta, etc.)

Moseleys Law
When the square root of the frequencies of the characteristic x-rays from the elements is plotted
against the atomic number, a straight line is obtained.

C(Z )
C, are constants
This is called Moseleys law
In his early 20's, Moseley measured and plotted
the x-ray frequencies for about 40 of the
elements of the periodic table.
He showed that the K-alpha x-rays followed a
straight line when the atomic number Z versus the
square root of frequency was plotted.
The implication of this relationship is that the
single electron in the K-shell before the emission
is almost 100% effective in shielding the nucleus
so that the electron from the L-shell sees an
effective nuclear charge of Z-1

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Braggs Law
We study crystal structure through the diffraction of photons, neutrons, and electrons.
The diffraction depends on the crystal structure and on the wavelength.
At optical wavelengths such as 5000 , the superposition of the waves, scattered elastically by the
individual atoms of a crystal, results in ordinary optical refraction.
When the wavelength of the radiation is comparable with or smaller than the lattice constant, we may
find diffracted beams in directions quite different from the incident direction.
W. L. Bragg presented a simple explanation of the diffracted beams from a crystal.
The Bragg derivation is simple but is convincing only because it reproduces the correct result. Suppose
that the incident waves are reflected specularly from parallel planes of atoms in the crystal, with each
plane reflecting only a very small fraction of the radiation, like a lightly silvered mirror.
In specular (mirror like) reflection the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. The
diffracted beams are found when the reflections from parallel planes of atoms interfere constructively,
as in Fig

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We treat elastic scattering, in which the energy of the x-ray is not changed on reflection.
Consider parallel lattice planes spaced d apart. The radiation is incident in the plane of the paper.
The path difference for rays reflected from adjacent planes is 2d sin,
where is measured from the plane. Constructive interference of the radiation from successive planes
occurs when the path difference is an integral number n of wavelengths l, so that
2d sin = nl
This is the Bragg law, which can be satisfied only for wavelength l 2d
Although the reflection from each plane is specular, for only certain values of will the reflections from
all periodic parallel planes add up in phase to give a strong reflected beam.
The Bragg law is a consequence of the periodicity of the lattice.
Notice that the law does not refer to the composition of the basis of atoms associated with every
lattice point. It is associated with crystallographic planes.

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Braggs Xray Spectrometer

Most of our knowledge about crystal structure and the structure of molecules (as complex as DNA in
crystalline form), comes from x-ray diffraction studies. A basic instrument for such study is the Bragg
It is similar to an ordinary prism spectrometer.

Two lead slits S1 and S2 define a narrow beam of Xrays coming from the target T.
This narrow beam of X rays is then incident on the crystal C, mounted on the table of spectrometer. The
reflected beam after passing through the slit S2, enters the ionization chamber D filled with methyl
bromide. The ionization current is detected by galvanometer. Instead the ionization chamber, a
photographic plate or scintillation counter can be used. The ionization current is recorded as the
glancing angle is varied by rotating the crystal table. The chamber is rotated through double the angle
through which the crystal table is rotated so that the angle of incidence becomes equal to the angle of
A graph is plotted between the intensity and glancing angle.
The peak intensities occur whenever the Braggs equation is satisfied.

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From Einsteins explanation for the photoelectric effect it is clear that quanta of light (photons) carry a
definite amount of energy.
The Compton Effect provided an unambiguous example of a process in which a quantum of radiation
carrying energy as well as momentum scatters off an electron.

Now, if U represents the energy per unit volume associated with a plane electromagnetic wave,
Maxwells equations predict that the momentum per unit volume associated with the electromagnetic
wave is U/c, where c represents the speed of light in free space.
Since each photon carries an energy equal to hu, it should have a momentum given by

The light quantum imparts some of its energy to the electron and emerges with less energy.
Thus the scattered radiation has a lower frequency. The kinematics of this collision process can be
worked out on elementary application of the laws of conservation of energy and momentum.
The scattered photon is assumed to have a frequency u. Conservation of energy leads to
hu = hu + Ek


Where Ek represents the kinetic energy imparted to the electron.

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Conserving the x and y components of the momentum, we have


cos + pcos

sin - psin



Where p represents the momentum of the electron after collision and and represent the angles made
by the scattered photon and electron with the original direction of the photon.
It will be shown that for a measurable Compton Effect, the frequency n should be in the X-ray or in the
g-ray region (for X-rays l1 and hu 104 eV).
For such high-energy photons, the velocity imparted to the electron is comparable to the speed of light,
and one must use proper relativistic expressions for Ek and p. Now, according to the theory of relativity,
the kinetic energy Ek of the scattered electron is given by

. (4)
Where = v/c, M0 represents the rest mass of the electron, v is the speed of the electron, and c is the
speed of light in free space;
The quantities E and M0C2 are known as the total energy and the rest mass energy of the electron.
Further, the relativistic momentum of the electron is given by


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Substituting for Ek

Further, Eqs. (2) and (3) can be rewritten in the form

Substituting in (6) we obtain

Which gives us the Compton shift.

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