What are the important applications of X rays?« Back to Questions List

A German physicist called Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen invented the X rays. X rays are low wavelength, high energy electromagnetic waves. They have quite a lot of interesting applications. The most important one being the medical field where they help doctors locate parts or have a detailed picture of unwanted foreign particles like bullets etc inside the body. Photographs made with X rays are called radiographs or skiagraphs. X rays are used in the detection of cancer, leukemia, kidney stones, and ulcers and also they give us a glimpse of teeth and bones too. In case of tumors, X rays are used to control their growth or destroy them.


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Other important application is related to security administration. When metal detectors are not able to detect prohibited objects, X rays are very useful in detecting goods like weapons and other dangerous substances within suitcases at airports. They are used in inspecting canned goods and other packaged products, in the study of astronomical objects and also in the examination of atomic structures of materials.


Many types of X-ray scanners have been developed that allow highly detailed views of a particular section of the body. CT (computerized tomography) scanner sends narrow beams of X rays at various angles through a patient's body. Mammography is a specialized version of taking X rays of the breast tissue.


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X rays are also used to inspect airplane and automobile parts, rubber goods, plastics, metal castings and a variety of other products.



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