Ionizing radiation has had a important function in medical specialty of all time since the find of X raies and radiation at the terminal of the nineteenth century. The benefits that is has generated are legion ; nevertheless there is a hazard of injury from exposure. The purpose of this essay is to present information about a figure of imaging modes and interventions utilizing X raies ( a type of ionizing radiation ) and how these techniques can best be used with minimum hazard to the patient.

Coevals of X raies

X raies are produced when negatrons from a heated fibril are accelerated by a high electromotive force towards a mark usually composed of metal ( such as Cu ) , tungsten or Mo. When the negatrons strike the atoms and karyon of the mark, negatrons are knocked out of the interior shells. These vacancies are filled when negatrons drop down from higher energy degrees. The chiseled difference in adhering energy, feature of the stuff, is emitted as a monoenergetic photon. When detected this X-ray photon gives rise to a characteristic X-ray line ( crisp extremums ) in the energy spectrum ( 1 ) .

Bremsstrahlung X raies are generated with a 50KV electromotive force, and the accelerated negatron ( much lighter than the karyon ) comes really close to a karyon in the mark but is deviated by an electromagnetic interaction. This divergence in trajectory causes the negatron to lose a great sum of energy and breathe an X-ray photon. The energy of the emitted photon can take any value up to a maximal corresponding to the energy of the incident negatron giving a wide set emanation. This procedure is known as bremsstrahlung ( braking radiation ) ( 1 ) .

X raies can perforate significant thickness of stuff as they merely interact with occasional atoms. This is one of the grounds why they are utile for imaging and why it is of import to understand their interaction with affair.

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Interaction of X raies with affair

As an X-ray beam base on ballss through continually thicker beds of a stuff, the strength of the X ray is reduced. This lessening in strength is referred to as fading and two mechanisms contribute to it, viz. soaking up and sprinkling.


Rayleigh sprinkling

This is an elastic hit ; the photon loses no energy but alterations way.

The x-ray photon is scattered elastically from an atom when its negatron cloud is accelerated by the electric filed of the photon.

The accelerated charges re-emit photons in any way.

If the wavelength of the X ray is less than the atoms dimensions, every negatron re-radiates independently and hence the amount of dispersing from any atom linearly additions with the figure of negatrons ( a.k.a the atomic figure Z ) ( 2 ) .

Therefore short wavelength x-ray radiation is scattered far more efficaciously than longer wavelengths ( 3 ) .

Compton sprinkling

It is an illustration of inelastic sprinkling.

The photon comes in, interacts with negatrons in the outermost shells of the atom, bring forthing an X ray that has lost a certain sum of energy that is dependent merely on the dispersing angle ( 4 ) .

Compton dispersing lessenings with increasing energy, so scatter production lessenings with increasing photon energy.


Photoelectric consequence

The atom absorbs all the energy from the incident x-ray photon and an negatron is emitted.

As the atom as a whole has to absorb impulse from the photon, it becomes less frequent as the photon energy additions.

The possibility of an negatron being emitted additions well when the atomic figure ( Z ) increases ( 5 ) .

X-ray Imagination


X-ray beginning: An x-ray tubing running a electromotive force between cathode and anode of about 100kVp green goodss the photons.

Filter: Low energy photons that would n’t acquire through the patients ‘ organic structure are removed as they would n’t lend to the image.

Collimator: Reduces both the entire energy absorbed by the patient and the sum of tissue bring forthing Compton scattered photons that hit the movie. Since the image is based on shadows that assume photons travel in a consecutive line from the x-ray beginning, scattered photons cut down the image quality, so the less of them the better ( 6 ) .

Anti-scatter grid: Removes more Compton-scattered photons.

Detector: Records the image and measures the measure of radiation that the patient was exposed to. A movie is most normally used. Its efficiency can be improved by puting it in contact with a fluorescent screen, as this improves x-ray soaking up. Each x-ray photon produces big Numberss of light photons when it interacts with the screen, so the sum of radiation needed to organize an image is reduced by a factor of about 100, cut downing the dosage to the patient ( 7 ) .

Physical Parameters


In an x-ray image the factors that affect contrast are the thickness and fading of the mark ( tissue in the patient ‘s organic structure ) .

Heavier atoms attenuate X raies more, which explains why X raies are good at imaging broken castanetss ; castanetss are denser and have a different fading coefficient ( due to a different photoelectric cross subdivision ) than tissue as they contain heavier atoms such as Calcium which show up more readily on the x-ray image compared to soft tissue.

Image contrast decreases quickly with increasing photon energy, so for best contrast low photon energy should be used. However using a low energy gives a greater dosage of radiation to the patient. Therefore the aim is to choose an x-ray beam spectrum that provides the optimal balance between contrast and dosage. To choose the spectrum of an x-ray beam that will give optimal consequences the combinations ofA the anode stuff, the filter stuff and thickness, and the selected KV for the process must be considered. Since most x-ray scrutinies are performed with tungsten anode tubings and have the same sum of filtration ( few millimeter of Aluminium ) , the first two factors can non be used to set contrast. The exclusion to this is in mammography when Mo and Rh anode tubings and filters are used to optimise the contrast to dose relationship. As the chest is wholly composed of soft tissue it has highly low contrast so accomplishing the correct relationship is of import for the patient.

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Figure: The Optimum Photon Energy Increases with Breast Size and Density

The “ moly-moly ” spectrum ( Figure 2 ) is most often used in mammography as it is really near to the optimal spectrum, particularly for smaller and less heavy chests. However the x-ray beam contains the bremsstrahlung spectrum with energies in the scope of 24 kilovolts to 32 kV.A This portion of the spectrum is unwanted because of its increased incursion which reduces the contrast.A That job is solved by utilizing a Mo filter.

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Figure: Spectrum Produced with Molybdenum Anode and Molybdenum Filter

A Rhodium filter has a somewhat higher atomic figure ( Z ) A than the Mo filter so is used when you want to image denser breast material as it increases the energy spectrum ( Figure 3 ) . The extra incursion that it provides improves visual image within the denser tissue areas.A

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Figure: Spectrum Produced with Molybdenum Anode and Rhodium Filter

As the Rh anode has a higher atomic figure ( Z ) than the molybdenumA anode, it produces characteristic X ray with higher energies. The Rh anode is selected ever with the Rh filter as the beam incursion is increased and optimal for imaging dense chest. It does this by widening the spectrum ( Figure 4 ) so “ seeing through ” some of the more heavy countries is easier as the contrast and visibleness has improved.A However, this increased incursion can cut down contrast in other chest environments.

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Figure: Spectrum Produced with Rhodium Anode and Rhodium Filter

Therefore the optimal spectra in mammography for assorted chest sizes and densenesss are obtained with combinations of Mo and Rh anodes and filters, with energy values in the scope of 24 kilovolts to 32 kilovolts ( 8 ) .

In general for all other x-ray images the lone spectrum commanding factor that can be changed by the operator to change contrast is the energy scope. It is typically 17-150KeV, with the higher energies used to image thicker organic structure subdivisions. In this energy range the of import photon interactions are the photoelectric consequence and sprinkling

Noise and dose

It is due to statistical fluctuations in the figure of x-ray photons detected per unit country ( quantum noise ) . Quantum noise can be reduced by increasing the figure of photons used to organize the image, but the disadvantage is that it increases the dosage to the patient. There is a minimal surface dosage that is can be used to see a contrast over an country against a background noise originating strictly from quantum noise.

is the mass energy soaking up coefficient for the tissue, is the photon energy, is the receptor efficiency, K is the ratio for when the object becomes noticeable, x is the deepness of tissue, and is the country of tissue.

Therefore it can be seen that the minimal dosage required to visualize an object increases as the opposite 4th power of the size of the object, so the larger the object the more dose is required for contrast to still be good ( 9 ) . It can besides be seen that different types of tissues have changing sensitiveness to x-ray exposure ( due to mass energy soaking up coefficient ) . So the existent hazard to different parts of the organic structure from an x-ray process varies ( 10 ) . In x-ray images the overall dosage that the patient is exposed to is determined by the movie sensitiveness of the image receptor, therefore why there is development in sensors for x-ray imagination.

Computerised Tomography ( CT )

CT scans use x-rays to bring forth cross-sectional images of the organic structure. It is chiefly a soft tissue imaging device. The equipment comprises of an x-ray tubing and an array of sensors contained within a gauntry which the patient is passed through. Collimated x-rays base on balls through a subdivision of the patient ‘s organic structure to bring forth a 1-D set of x-ray fading informations. The x-ray tubing and sensors move in a circle within the gauntry around the patient ‘s organic structure ( while they pass through the scanner ) which gives a big figure of informations from different waies around the organic structure maximizing attenuation information from different parts of the organic structure. Cross-sectional images are so constructed via package from the multiple X-ray projections to demo differences in tissue densenesss ( 11 ) .

Physical Parameters


CT images are normally obtained with high x-ray tubing energies in the scope of 120-140kV. Due to these high energies, Compton scattered photons consequence contrast. Filters must hence be used to take lower energy X raies.

The figure of x-ray photons is besides has an consequence on image quality. If the figure of photons is excessively low, so background ‘noise ‘ may be excessively big, forestalling little fluctuations in contrast to be seen. The figure of photons is determined by x-ray tubing end product, scanning clip and the breadth of piece being imaged. If noise degrees are similar, the x-ray end product is big for dilutant pieces and smaller for thicker pieces, but dose must be kept to a lower limit.

Variation in image contrast is chiefly due to difference in tissue fading. Body tissue fadings have a broad scope, so windowing is used to separate little alterations. The window can be changed to concentrate on high or low denseness constructions, e.g for the analysis of the construction of lungs, the window is reduced to low fading, so all other soft tissues fall outside the seeable window and are white ( 12 ) .


Detectors need to keep a high preciseness of their single x-ray photon to electric current transition factors throughout the scan to maintain the declaration of the image good. Variations in the sensors tenseness alters the transition factor so is monitored throughout the scan. This is achieved by the utmost borders of the x-ray beam being intentionally arranged to lose the patient and enter particular monitoring elements.

To accomplish spacial declaration of less than 1mm, the sensors must be little and there must be a sufficient figure a measuring points. Minimum declaration images are produced with 500 orientations of the tub-detector with regard to the patient. Maximal declaration images are produced from oversampling, with every bit many as 3000 orientations ( 13 ) .

Comparison of CT and X raies

CT produces much more information than a individual x-ray radiogram strictly because it combines information from many radiogram. But this means a CT scan exposes the patient to a much larger radiation dosage. Its usage is hence restricted to life threating and serious unwellnesss ( e.g. malignant neoplastic disease and caput hurts ) . Further development of CT to give a higher spacial declaration therefore is efficaciously blocked by the issue of dosage.

X-rays images have a loss of depth information, because the 3-D construction has been projected onto a 2-D movie. Therefore little differences in x-ray additive soaking up coefficient are n’t seeable in projection radiology without the assistance of contrast sweetening. CT solves this and hence enables diagnosing of many diseases impacting soft tissue to be made easier ( 13 ) .


In decision we have seen that the interaction of X raies with affair gives rise to the mechanism of contrast in both the x-ray radiogram image and CT image, and that other physical parametric quantities such as noise, declaration and radiation dosage can be altered utilizing the instrumentality to better the quality of the concluding image produced.

1. “ X-rays ” . [ Online ] [ Cited: 12 Febuary 2013. ] http: //

2. Guy C, Ffytche D. An Introduction to The Principles of Medical Imaging. s.l.A : Imperical Press college, 2000. pp. 60-62.

3. R, Fitzpatrick. Rayleigh Scattering. Richard Fitzpatrick Teaching. [ Online ] 2 Febuary 2006. [ Cited: 12 Febuary 2013. ] hypertext transfer protocol: //

4. Wikipedia. Compton dispersing. [ Online ] [ Cited: 12 Febuary 2013. ] hypertext transfer protocol: //

5. Guy C, Ffytche D. An Intorduction to The Principles of Medical Imaging. s.l.A : Imperial College Press, 2000. pp. 56-58.

6. Hobbie, KR. Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology. s.l.A : Springer, 1997. pp. 426-430.

7. Martin C, Dendy P, Corbett R. Medical Imaging and Rdaition Protection for medical pupils and clinical staff. s.l.A : The Brirtish Institute of Radiology, 2003. pp. 11-12.

8. Sprawls, P. The Physical Principles of medical Imaging. X-Ray Image Formation and Contrast. [ Online ] [ Cited: 13 Febuary 2013. ] hypertext transfer protocol: // .

9. Webb, S. The Physics of Medical Imaging. s.l.A : IOP, 1988. pp. 29-31.

10. Radiation Dose in X-Ray and CT Exams. [ Online ] [ Cited: 13 Febuary 2013. ] hypertext transfer protocol: // pg=sfty_xray.

11. Martin C, Dendy P, Corbett R. Medical Imaging and Radiation protection for medical pupils and clinical staff. s.l.A : The British Institute of Radiology, 2003. pp. 13-14.

12. – . Medical Imaging and radiation protection. s.l.A : The British Institute of Radiology, 2003. pp. 35-36.

13. Guy C, Ffytche D. An Introduction to The Principles of Medical Imaging. s.l.A : Imperial college imperativeness, 2000. pp. 152-153.


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