Principles of X-rays Machine 

What Are X-rays?

X-rays are waves of electromagnetic energy. They behave in much the same way as light rays, but at much shorter wavelengths. When directed at a target, X-rays can often pass through the substance uninterrupted, especially when it is of low density. Higher density targets (like the human body) will reflect or absorb the X-rays. They do this because there is less space between the atoms for the short waves to pass through. Thus, an X-ray image shows dark areas where the rays traveled completely through the target (such as with flesh). It shows light areas where the rays were blocked by dense material (such as bone).

Thomas Alva Edison invented an X-ray fluoroscope in 1896. American physiologist Walter Cannon used Edison's device to observe the movement of barium sulfate through the digestive system of animals and, eventually, humans. (Barium sulfate is a fine white powder that is still used as a contrast medium in X-ray photography of the digestive tract.) In 1913 the first X-ray tube designed specifically for medical purposes was developed by American chemist William Coolidge (1873-1975). X-rays have since become the most reliable method for diagnosing internal problems.


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