Goebel, Charles J. Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:October 2019
- Synchrotron radiation
- Nonelectronic bremsstrahlung
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In a narrow sense, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by electrons when they pass through matter. Charged particles radiate when accelerated, and in this case the electric fields of the atomic nuclei provide the force which accelerates the electrons. The continuous spectrum of x-rays from an x-ray tube is that of the bremsstrahlung; in addition, there is a characteristic x-ray spectrum due to excitation of the target atoms by the incident electron beam. The major energy loss of high-energy (relativistic) electrons (energy greater than about 10 MeV, depending somewhat upon material) occurs from the emission of bremsstrahlung, and this is the major source of gamma rays in a high-energy cosmic-ray shower. See also: Cosmic rays; Electromagnetic radiation
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