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Flashcards in radiology physics Deck (22)
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what is a photon

packet of energy
(single particle of light or x ray)


transtitions of electrons to orbits

- a transition of an electron to a higher energy orbit will require the input of energy, in this case a photon
- a transition of an electron to a lower energy orbit will cause loss of energy, in this case a photon will be emitted
If an eletron in orbit 1 (has E=10), and a photon with at least E=20 hits it, it can go up to orbit 2 as (E=30)
If a space becomes available in orbit 1, an electron from orbit 2 will drop into it and give off a photon of E=20



If we give an electron enough energy, we can completely free it from the pull of the nuclear
- this gives a positive ion (the atom -1e) and one free electron


nucleus contais

neutrons and protons


particle radiation

- includes alpha and beta (electrons) particles from radioactive decay
- beams consist of many individual particles


electromagnetic radiation

Shows the relationship between energy, frequency and wavelength for types of electromagnetic radiation


gamma rays

An excited nucleus may emit a gamma ray in order to return to its ground state
- the emitted Y ray has no charge
- the Y ray is less ionising than the particular radiations
- The Y ray can be very penetrating, tens of mm Pb may be required to reduced their intensity
- Y rays are identical to X rays, except for the manner of production


how are x rays produced

X rays are produced by accelerating electrons towards a metal target in high voltage, evacuated tubes


steps of x ray production (diagnostic x ray tube

Filament is heated by electric current to release e-
- high voltage are between the anode and cathode
- e- are attracted to the anode
- glass envelope removes air
- anode (target) is typically tungsten
- e- hit the anode
- x rays are created in all directions
- lead shielding reduces radiation
- inefficient process, 99% becomes heat


purpose of copper block

- copper block prevents heat damaged to anode, also needs high melting point to deal with heat



AC - not suitable as anode/cathode will keep swapping over
Three way rectified(shifting phase to give 3 phases, can smooth to give more constant potential)


braking radiaiton and how it works

- A continuous spectrum produced by rapid deceleration of electrons passing close to target nuclei

- atom in anode, e- comes in with lots of energy
- e- is slowed by the positive nucleus, energy lost is emitted as an xray photon
- electron interacts with the nucleus too
- if an electron looses all its energy, the photon given off is Emax (only one high energy photon)
- but if it looses little bits of energy, will get more photons with smaller amounts of energy


characteristics x ray formation

An electron is knocked out of the K (inner shell) shell by an electron colliding with an e-, leaving a gap
An L shell electron falls into the gap (k shell) and emits energy as an x ray
- energy of photon emitted = (energy of electron in L shell) – (energy electron now has in K shell)



removing energy from the radiation beam


comparison of attenuation between radiations

Patient = tissue
Beta is scattered and slowed in tissue

xray can travel long distances before being scattered
- depentant on tissue type ect

There is a reduction in intensity due to interaction with tissue
lower the energy more likely to stop, therefore you want to reduce the low energy photons much more than the high energy ones


factors which affect x ray beam intensity, energy of photons quality act

- no of electrons hitting the anode is called the tube current (milliamp)
- Tube voltage between anode and cathode is what attracts the e- to the anode
- each e- has more energy, conversion efficieny improves so more photons and increase average energy of the photons so the beam quality is increased
- target atomic number affects the intensity but not quality of beam, intensity increases with the atomic number of the anode (tungsten has a high z 74 and high metling point to withstand het)
- rectification see power supply, reduced intensity via ripple


half value layer and what happens after each layer is progressed through

amount of a given material that will reduce the given beam by half

- This means the average energy of photons in the beam increases after intenuation, as you have removed many photons but these are of lower energy, so therefore the average remaining energy of the photons is higher as the high energy ones have got through


filtraiton use

Very low energy photons don’t make it out of the tube
- the next ones would make it to the patient but not through the patient so would not contribute to the imaging, only would contribute to the dose
- therefore these need to be removed from the beam usinga sheet of metal, minimum of 1.5mm Al
- this does not have much effect on the high energy electrons
- but too much filtration, reduce contrast in image
- also would need to start with more photons, therefore more heat production thus damaging the tube


inverse square law

Radiation intensity falls off via the inverse square law
- assume all photons come from one point and spread from there
- number of photons per uni area decrease
- eg 9 photons at point s
- at distance r, all photons go through distance r
- the next distance is 2r, 4 squares
- the 9 photons are still passing through the area but the density is decreasing, by 9x by distance increase of 3x, hence inverse square law


photo electric absorption in tissue

photo interacts with inner shell e-
photo energy will be absorped by the e-
if the energy absroptied exceeds the e- binding energy the electron is emitted from the atom and is known as photo electron

gap is filled from e- from higher shell, energy released is emitted as characteristic radiation


Compton scatter

Energy required to remove an e- from the shell (binding energy)
- further away from nucleus,lower the binding energy
- photon bounces off from K shell e-, not losing much energy
- photon interacting with otuter e- may lose some enryg to the electron and ionise th atom
- photon will change direction and energy
- scattered photons will have a range of energies and direction, gives poor imaging
- some are still removed from the beam so we can still get some information
- more photons = more scatter


x ray interactions and compromise

Absorption - Photoelectric Effect
Scattering - Fogging on films - Compton Effect
Most tissues are of similar density and Z; therefore need to choose low kV to optimise contrast.
But transmission increases with kV (so can reduce mA or time which decreases patient dose).
So we need to compromise between contrast and dose.
Highest absorption at low energies
Transmission increases with kV
Lower energies give greatest relative difference in attenuation between different materials