The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all frequencies of electromagnetic radiation which includes visible light as well as invisible radiations like radio waves, infrared rays, gamma rays. Electromagnetic radiation from the spectrum has found multiple applications ranging from communication to manufacturing.
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Gamma Rays in the Electromagnetic Spectrum:
Gamma rays are high frequency (or shortest wavelength) electromagnetic radiation and carry a lot of energy. They pass through most types of material. Only something hard, like a lead block or a thick concrete block, can stop their transmission.
Gamma rays have a wavelength range below 100 pm and frequencies greater than 10 Hz. They are the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation in a range greater than 100 keV. Although Gamma rays were first observed in the 1900s by Paul Villard, a French chemist investigating radium, Ernest Rutherford named them “Gamma Rays” (following the order after alpha rays and beta rays – other particles from nuclear radiation).
Gamma rays are one of the most energetic forms of light produced in the hottest areas of the universe. They are also produced by supernova explosions and by radioactive material in space. Gamma rays cannot be reflected in mirrors like X-rays. Instead, they will pass right through the mirror.
Gamma rays are a type of ionizing radiation and are hence extremely dangerous. Ionizing radiation is high-energy radiation, enough to pull away electrons from their atoms, thereby charging the particles (converting them into ions), hence the name. The main ways of producing gamma rays are by nuclear reactions.
- Nuclear Fusion
- Nuclear Fission
- Alpha Decay
- Gamma Decay
Uses of Gamma Rays:
- Sterilize medical equipment
- Sterilize food (irradiated food)
- Used as tracers in medicine
- Radio Therapy- In oncology, to kill cancerous cells
- Gamma-Ray Astronomy
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Can gamma rays be produced through nuclear reactions?
What are the types of nuclear reactions which helps to produce gamma rays?
State true or false: Gamma rays are used in radiotherapy.
What is meant by ionizing radiation?
What is the wavelength and frequency of gamma rays?
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