Bremsstrahlung is the electromagnetic radiation emitted in the form of photons when a charged particle is decelerated upon striking against another charged particle. This radiation gives a continuous X-ray spectrum. This is also known as “braking radiation”. These charged particles are mainly electrons and atomic nuclei of metals. Let us now study bremsstrahlung radiation, its causes, and effects.
In the classical explanation of bremsstrahlung radiation, the quantum effects are neglected and a comparatively simpler approach was considered by Larmor. Bremsstrahlung has its uses in radiation safety equipment and astrophysics. Bremsstrahlung radiation is often considered to be secondary radiation.
Bremsstrahlung radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle upon getting deflected by another charged particle is decelerated. These charged particles are mainly electrons or atomic nuclei. The particles in motion upon clashing lose kinetic energy. The lost energy is emitted as radiation in the form of photons. Thus the law of conservation of energy is also satisfied. This is known as the bremsstrahlung radiation. This bremsstrahlung radiation gives a continuous spectrum. The peak intensities tend to shift towards higher frequencies with the increase in the energy of the decelerated charged articles. This is the bremsstrahlung radiation definition. Bremsstrahlung radiation is of two types namely inner bremsstrahlung and outer bremsstrahlung radiation. We’ll be discussing this later in this article.
Causes of Bremsstrahlung Radiation
Bremsstrahlung can be defined as a process by which some of the energy of the celestial rays is scattered into the atmosphere of Earth. The chromosphere emits solar x-rays in the form of bremsstrahlung radiation. This is generated by fast-moving electrons. However internal bremsstrahlung takes place in case of radioactive disintegration. During beta decay which involves the emission of electrons and positrons, the clash between these charged particles results in the emission of bremsstrahlung radiation. It is mainly caused by the acceleration and deceleration of charged particles such as atomic nuclei and electrons. If the particles emit bremsstrahlung radiation while being accelerated by an external magnetic field it is also known as synchrotron radiation.
Bremsstrahlung X- Rays
The bremsstrahlung x-rays are emitted when electrons get decelerated when fired against a metal target. These charged particles emit bremsstrahlung radiation in the form of photons or bremsstrahlung x-rays. The continuous spectrum formed due to the bombardment of electrons lies in the x-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The energy peaks of the x-ray spectrum tend to shift towards higher frequencies with the increase in energy of the electrons. Often the bombarding electrons also eject electrons from the inner atomic shells of the target metal. The vacancies are quickly filled by dropping electrons from the higher atomic shells. As a result, bremsstrahlung x-rays are emitted.
Inner and Outer Bremsstrahlung
Inner bremsstrahlung and outer bremsstrahlung are the two types of bremsstrahlung radiations.The inner bremsstrahlung is also known as internal bremsstrahlung is caused by the electrons emitted from a radioactive decaying nucleus. This is a feature of beta decay in the nuclei. However, the outer bremsstrahlung is caused when electrons emitted from a separated nucleus are bombarded on other nuclei. The bremsstrahlung decreases constantly with the increase in the energy of the beta particles in the case of electrons and positrons which are emitted by the electron-nuclei pair in case of beta decay. The bremsstrahlung is emitted in case of electron capture without emission of any charged particle. Electron capture requires the energy of a neutrino. The bremsstrahlung radiation is the result of the acceleration of the captured electrons. These types of radiations often have the same frequencies as gamma radiation. These radiations do not exhibit any spectral lines of the gamma radiation and hence can not be considered as gamma decay.
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