Radiation Protection Glossary

A radiation protection glossary for Radiation Protection Supervisors (RPS) and anyone interesting in radiation safety terminology. The glossary is a mixture of health physics terms, and phrases related to radiation legislation, transport, practical safety and similar.

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    X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)

    If an Element is irradiated by X-Rays it is possible to transfer their energy to the orbital Electron. The electrons move up an 'energy level' in the process. As these energised electrons fall back to their normal state, energy is released in the form of characteristic discrete x-ray Photons which are unique to the element in question. The process is used in analytical techniques where element identification is required.


    X-rays are part of the Electromagnetic spectrum. They are a penetrating form of electromagnetic radiation and consist of quantum's of energy (Photon). X-rays are commonly produced by the excitation of atomic Electrons, by firing electrons between a high potential difference towards a target (which is the principle of an x-ray machine).

    The target electrons are excited, and as they de-excite x-ray photons are produced. X-rays can also be produced as a result of Bremsstrahlung or by nuclear reactions. X-rays have many uses including medical imaging and industrial quality assurance.

In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded

– Terry Pratchett