Since the developments of x-rays way back in the 19th century, our understanding of anatomy and the human body as a whole has gone through the roof. The ability to utilize these electromagnetic waves has seriously helped out when it comes to the development of new medicines and getting to grips with particular ailments that people are suffering from. However, many people do not think in a great level of detail about exactly how this incredible piece of technology was first developed, as well as the ways in which it works. Well, these are the pieces of information that we will be attempting to understand at a greater level right here and now. So, let’s get started on our journey to get to understand x-rays.
An accidental discovery
When x-rays were first discovered in the late 19th century, it was somewhat of an accident rather than the direct result of a huge amount of research and development. Obviously, this is in direct contrast to many of the great scientific discoveries that have been done before and since. It was scientist Wilhelm Roentgen from Bavaria who first worked out the potential that they could have. The first radiology department in the world was established the very next year at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. X-ray machines had a special role to play in World War One, and this really was only scratching the surface of what could be achieved. X-rays have come a long way since that time, and we now have equipment such as x-ray diffractometers produced by companies such as Malvern Panalytical. Of course, as is the case in the human journey, the development is not going to stop here, and we still have a long way to go.
How do x-ray machines actually work?
Moving on from the initial discovery, there is still the question to answer of how these devices actually work. Well, it is essentially the case that when a negatively charged electrode is produced and heated, electrons will be released as a direct result of this particular action. The energy that is being created will then be directed at a metal plate or an anode and an extremely high velocity. The x-ray is actually produced when the energy collides with the atoms in the plate. A cassette will be placed on the area that needs to be looked at in more detail. The x-ray will pass through all of the tissue that is not able to absorb the energy of the x-ray. This will all appear as dark on the final image. However, the bones will not absorb it, which means that they will appear as white.
There you have a whistle-stop tour in the creation of x-rays, which is obviously one of the most significant areas of development in human history and continues to have a huge impact on the field of healthcare, as well as giving us a better understanding of different objects in the world around us.