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X-ray question - frequencies and energies

  1. Jan 25, 2013 #1
    X-ray question -- frequencies and energies

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    1. Why does x-ray with higher frequency possess higher ionizing power and penetrating power ?
    2. Will gamma ray with higher frequency possess higher ionizing power and penetrating power ? And is "gamma ray has no mass" a reason accounting for its low ionizing power ?
    3. Then for alpha and beta radiation, will they possess higher ionizing power and penetrating power by increasing their speed ? Thank you.

    2. Relevant equations

    Nil

    3. The attempt at a solution

    1. Is it because energy of it increase ? So it can hit air molecules more vigorously and possess higher KE and travel longer ?
    2. I think mass should be one of the reasons just like that of alpha radiation. But my book says it is not. Only charge affect gamma 's ionizing power
    3. I think yes ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2013 #2

    mfb

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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: X-ray question -- frequencies and energies

    The first part is right, but the increased penetrating power is a different effect - the probability of an interaction goes down with increasing energy. This is a result of quantum mechanics, I don't know of any classical model to explain it.
    I don't think this is a meaningful question. If a photon would have mass (in particular, enough to see it in gamma ray absorption), we would live in a completely different world.
    Charge in the absorber - the gamma rays (photons) have no charge.

    Right
     
  4. Jan 26, 2013 #3
    Re: X-ray question -- frequencies and energies

    Thank you
     
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