Video: Physics Past Exam • 2017/2018 • Pack 1 • Question 32A

Physics Past Exam • 2017/2018 • Pack 1 • Question 32A

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Video Transcript

Name one factor that increases the frequency of the characteristic X-ray spectrum generated by a Coolidge tube.

A Coolidge tube is a device used to produce X-rays. And its main parts consist of a glass exterior, a cathode which provides a source of electrons, and an anode which includes a target material that the electrons run into. Our potential difference between cathode and anode helps to accelerate the electrons until they smash into the target material, generating X-rays.

Regarding the frequency of the X-rays emitted by the Coolidge tube, it was a British researcher named Moseley who discovered that the material that the target was made out of had an effect on this frequency. Through his experimental work, Moseley discovered that the frequency of the emitted X-rays is proportional to the square of the atomic number of the material the target is made of. When atomic number goes up therefore, so does the frequency of the X-rays. So we can replace the target material with another target material that has a larger atomic number. That’s one way to increase the frequency of the characteristic X-ray spectrum.

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