Difference Between X-Rays and Gamma Rays

X-Rays vs Gamma Rays

Electromagnetic spectrum is a very useful concept used in the study of physics. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic rays, which are used for medical purposes, and gamma rays are widely used in observational astronomy. Both of these electromagnetic rays are high-energy electromagnetic rays. This article will address what X-rays and gamma rays are, their definitions, the similarities between X-rays and gamma rays, the application of these two, the production of gamma rays and x-rays, and finally the difference between gamma rays and X-rays.


X-rays are type electromagnetic rays. Electromagnetic waves are classified into several regions according to their energy. X-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, visible, and radio waves are few of them. Everything we see is due to the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. A spectrum is the plot of intensity versus energy of the electromagnetic rays. The energy can also be represented in wavelength or frequency. The wavelength of X-rays has a range from 0.01 nanometers to 10 nanometers. By applying the equation C = f λ, where C is the speed of light in a vacuum, f is the frequency of the electromagnetic wave, and λ is the wavelength of the electromagnetic wave, we get a frequency range for X-rays from 30 petahertz (3 x 1016 Hz) to 30 exahertz (3 x 1019 Hz). X rays are widely used in medical applications. The X-rays are used to map the interior of the human body using the diffraction of X-rays. X-rays are produced by collision of a high-energy electron beam with a metal. The rapid deceleration of the electrons causes high-energy photons to be emitted. This is called the braking radiation. The high-energy electrons also knock out-bound electrons from inner energy levels. The electrons at outer energy levels transit to the lower level to stabilize the atom. This causes a characteristic emission with peaks at specific wavelengths.

Gamma Rays

Gamma rays are a type of ultra-high energy electromagnetic radiation. The frequency of gamma rays is in the range of exaherts (1019 Hz) or above. Gamma rays have the photons with the highest energy in the electromagnetic spectrum. Natural sources of gamma rays are sub atomic particle interaction and high-energy lightning strikes. Gamma rays are artificially produced by particle antiparticle annihilation, braking radiation and neutral p ion decay. Since gamma rays have very high energies, these are capable of breaking bonds of several molecules thus creating a biological hazard.


What is the difference between X-rays and Gamma rays?

• Gamma rays have higher energies than the X-rays.

• The penetration power of gamma rays is higher than that of X-rays.

• Since the energy of the gamma rays is higher than that of the X-rays, gamma rays have shorter wavelengths than X-rays.

• The frequency region of X-rays has an upper bound, as well as a lower bound, but gamma rays only have a lower bound.

• X-rays are used in medical applications, but gamma rays are not.