# X-Ray Tube Emission: Wave Particle Duality Explained

• twinsen
In summary, the lecture discussed the concept of wave-particle duality and provided evidence for the particle side through experiments such as the photoelectric effect and x-ray tube. The basic idea is that electrons are accelerated and then decelerated, causing x-ray emission. However, there is confusion about how the emitted photon can have wave-like properties without the charge oscillating. The lecturer may be using classical E&M to describe this behavior, but it is not a continuous spectrum.
twinsen
In a lecture today our lecturer illustrated the idea of wave particle duality and gave some experiments that show evidence for the particle side of things. Namely photoelectric and x-ray tube.
If I get this right the basic idea is that free electrons are accelerated through a potential difference to high speeds then collide with a screen of some material. This material decelerates the electrons causing x-ray emission.
What I don't quite get is that how can the emitted photon have wave like properties if it isn't a wave in the classical sense as surely the charge is not oscillating. Wouldnt the deceleration of a charge just cause a bump or small pulse in the EM field. Can a short pulse be taken to be a wave and how can you measure properties like frequency of such a wave.

Alex

PS. I wasnt sure where to post this classical/quantum sorry ;)

But the photon clearly have particle properties aswell, can you combine that into the classical wave theory?

The electron is not continuous decreasing, it is losing photons in discrete steps, according to Quantum Electrodynamics, on "microscopic" scales of course =)

twinsen said:
In a lecture today our lecturer illustrated the idea of wave particle duality and gave some experiments that show evidence for the particle side of things. Namely photoelectric and x-ray tube.
If I get this right the basic idea is that free electrons are accelerated through a potential difference to high speeds then collide with a screen of some material. This material decelerates the electrons causing x-ray emission.
What I don't quite get is that how can the emitted photon have wave like properties if it isn't a wave in the classical sense as surely the charge is not oscillating. Wouldnt the deceleration of a charge just cause a bump or small pulse in the EM field. Can a short pulse be taken to be a wave and how can you measure properties like frequency of such a wave.

Alex

PS. I wasnt sure where to post this classical/quantum sorry ;)

I think (and I'm only guessing here) that your teacher is trying to illustrate the fact that "breaking radiation" or Bremsstrahlung can easily be described using classical E&M, and thus, makes it a "wave" behavior. It isn't something I would do, but it would be something I won't find difficult to understand why he/she would use it in this way.

Zz.

Yer that sounds like what we were doing.

Ah so the emission is more of a continuous spectrum is this built out of lots of separate pulses of differing wavelength?

Alex

twinsen said:
Yer that sounds like what we were doing.

Ah so the emission is more of a continuous spectrum is this built out of lots of separate pulses of differing wavelength?

Alex

Classical description doesn't necessary imply a continuous spectrum. For example, a waveguide can be accurately described with straightforward wave picture, and you get discrete wavelengths (frequencies) in there. It is just that in Bremsstrahlung, you can apply the "accelerating" (or in this case, decelerating) charge description from classical E&M, which of course, is based on the wave description of E&M radiation.

Zz.

## 1. What is the wave-particle duality of X-rays?

The wave-particle duality of X-rays refers to the fact that X-rays exhibit characteristics of both waves and particles. This means that they can behave as electromagnetic waves, with properties such as wavelength and frequency, but they also have particle-like behavior, such as the ability to interact with matter and be absorbed or scattered.

## 2. How is the wave-particle duality of X-rays explained by the X-ray tube emission process?

The X-ray tube emission process involves the production of X-rays through the conversion of high energy electrons into photons. This process demonstrates the wave-particle duality of X-rays because the electrons act as particles, but their interactions with the target material produce X-rays that behave as waves.

## 3. What is the significance of the wave-particle duality of X-rays?

The wave-particle duality of X-rays is significant because it helps us understand the nature of X-rays and their behavior. It also allows us to use X-rays in various applications, such as medical imaging and material analysis, as we can manipulate their wave-like properties to produce high-quality images and gather information about the structure of matter.

## 4. Can X-rays only exhibit wave or particle behavior, or can they switch between the two?

X-rays can exhibit both wave and particle behavior simultaneously. They do not switch between the two, but rather, their behavior is best described as a combination of both wave and particle properties.

## 5. How does the concept of the wave-particle duality of X-rays relate to other areas of science?

The wave-particle duality of X-rays is a fundamental concept in quantum physics and is also seen in other areas of science, such as with light and electrons. It highlights the complex and interconnected nature of the universe and has led to advancements in our understanding of atomic and subatomic particles.

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