K, L, M electron transitions, x-ray emission lines, conflicting information!

1. Sep 4, 2011

ApeXaviour

So the basic understanding I have of electron transitions for EDX, XES and other x-ray fluorescence techniques is that a transition from:
L to K shell is named $K\alpha$
M to K shell is $K\beta$
N to K shell is $K\gamma$
M to L shell is $K\alpha$
etc.

Grand, easy... google leads me to multiple diagrams explaining it like this. But now I have a feeling that's a bit woolly and the real story is more convoluted. The http://xdb.lbl.gov/Section1/Sec_1-2.html" [Broken] which shows $L\beta _{2}$ being an N to L transition and $K\beta _{2}$ being an N to K transition...

Can anyone explain to me why this is? Is there a physical logic to it or is it just from historical labeling of lines observed?

Also the last number, say $L\beta _{2}$, what does the 2 refer to? Is it the intensity of the line? The energy position?

Cheers

Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
2. Sep 4, 2011

JeffKoch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-alpha

It's confusing historical notation but people continue to use it anyway. I think in practice the 1, 2, etc. refers to the wavelength ordering of distinct lines, which I believe corresponds to different delta-J values but I won't swear that this is always the case.