Physics unit 3 - x-rays

A summary mind map of the topic X-Rays in the AQA GCSE triple science unit 3 Physics course.

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  • X-Rays
    • Affect a photographic film in the same way as light
      • This means that radiographers can where film badges to monitor their exposure to the radiation
    • Are used in hospitals to diagnose and treat some medical conditions
      • To produce images of bones and metal within the body
        • Are detected by a charged coupled device (CCD) to form and image electronically (produces shadow pictures)
      • To kill cancer cells
      • In computerised tomography (CT) scans
        • CT scans produce 2D and 3D images of the body
        • CT scans give a much more detailed image than a normal x-ray, this is at the cost of increased radiation dose to the patient
    • Have short wave lengths of the same order of magnitude as the diameter of atoms and can cause ionisation
    • Form part of the electromagnetic spectrum
    • Advantages of x-rays for medical use
      • X-rays are transmitted by healthy tissue
      • X-rays are absorbed by metal and bone to produce shadow pictures
      • X-rays produce detailed images of the body, CT scans give even more detail which often stops the need of invasive surgery to diagnose certain conditions
      • X-rays can be used to kill cancerous cells
    • Disadvantages of x-rays for medical use
      • x-rays are more likely to ionise rapidly dividing cells so can't be used in pre-natal scanning
      • Radiation for x-rays can damage cells and cause cancer


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