Natural Sciences

Examples of ionizing radiation

Before presenting the examples of ionizing radiation, it is essential to know about their definition, delve into their classifications and know what their usefulness is in daily life, in that sense, we can define them as those that have enough energy to achieve ionize matter , managing at the same time to extract the electrons bound to the atom that are in their states.

This type of radiation, in general, comes from substances that are radioactive , capable of spontaneously emitting radiation, others can be achieved by artificial generators, among which are particle accelerators and X-rays.

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Some ionizing radiations can be located in the earth’s crust and are natural, additionally, they are classified according to their composition, so they can be beta, alpha, X-ray or gamma-ray particles.

One of the branches that study the interaction that living matter has with ionizing radiation is what is known as radiobiology , this type of interaction can produce different effects.

Since its discovery in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, it has been used profitably in medicine and some industrial work. The most common are those that are carried out using X-ray machines , also in scintigraphy , used for medical diagnoses, in some treatments such as radiotherapy, applied to patients with oncological diseases, among others.

Examples of ionizing radiation

  1. Corpuscular radiation : This type of radiation is made up of alpha, beta, neutrons, protons and particles that have been produced by cosmic rays, such as muons or pions.
  2. Electromagnetic radiation : It is one of the most frequent radiation, since it is used in gamma rays and X rays. It is achieved by the formation of photons energized enough to be able to ionize matter.
  3. Direct ionizing radiation: These are corpuscular radiation that has been formed by charged particles, the same ones that are capable of interacting directly with electrons and with the nucleus of atoms of molecules, in this case, water and oxygen. They generally feature high direct energy transfer.
  4. Indirect ionizing radiation : This type of radiation is identified by having uncharged particles, as is the case with neutrons, photons or neutrinos, the same ones that, when they pass through matter, cause an interaction generating charged particles. These charged particles have the ability to ionize other atoms. Unlike direct ionizing radiation, these have low energy transfer in a linear manner.
  5. Artificial Radiations : Are those radiations achieved through methods or devices built by man, such as those used for X-rays in medicine. There are also some materials that can be found naturally, but that humans concentrate them with chemistry in order to obtain their radioactive properties.
  6. Natural radiation: These radiation are those that come from radioisotopes that are located in the air, food, humans, the earth’s crust and even space. According to studies carried out by scientists, they show that at least 80% of ionizing radiation comes from natural sources, in which man obviously does not intervene in its process.

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