AQA GCSE Physics: P3 1.1, X-rays revision notes

Revision notes on the X-rays notes which cover all which is mentioned on  specification 1.0

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  • Created on: 07-04-13 16:54
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Physics Module 3 revision
1. Medical applications of Physics
1.1 X-rays
They are an electromagnetic wave with high frequency and an
extremely short wavelength(of the same order of magnitude
as the diameter of an atom)
X-rays are useful because they are absorbed by metal and
bone, but transmitted by metal and bone
Also because they affect photographic film in the same way as
visible light they can form images on the film
o This means we can fire x-rays through the human body to
form an image which shows where light rays have been
absorbed and transferred
o This means we can differentiate between bones and
tissues and then check for fractures and dental problems
Charge-coupled devices (CCDs) form electronic images of the
Computerised tomography scanners (CT scanners) can form a
digital images of a cross section of the body using x-rays
o They can produce a 3D image and distinguish between
different types of tissues
o They are very expensive
o They use higher doses of radiation(as much as 500 times
that of a conventional X-ray and thus there is a higher
chance of the patient being harmed because of it
However all x-rays cause ionisation which damages body cells
and may cause cancer
o As a precautions workers wear film badges to monitor
their exposure to the rays
o Lead screens are often used to shield operators from the
o Workers wear lead aprons if they can't stand in a
protected area
On the other hand x-rays can also treat cancerous tumours at or
near the body surface

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X-rays are focussed on the cancerous areas and a high
dose is fired at the tumour
o As the dose is concentrated on one area it reduces the
chance of healthy cells being ionised…read more


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