What is a soft X-ray?

Soft X-rays

Soft X-rays refer to the segment of the X-ray spectrum with lower energy levels. They are characterized by their ability to be absorbed by air and have wavelengths in the range of approximately 10 to 0.1 nanometers. These X-rays are at the higher frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum, just above UV light and just below hard X-rays in energy.

Properties of Soft X-rays

  • Wavelength: Roughly between 10 to 0.1 nanometers.
  • Energy: Generally, they have lower energy compared to hard X-rays, typically in the range of 0.12 to 12 keV (kilo-electronvolts).
  • Penetration: Because of their lower energy, they have limited penetrating power and can be easily absorbed by air and soft tissues.

Applications of Soft X-rays

  • Medical Imaging: Used in certain types of radiography to reduce radiation dose to the patient.
  • Material Science: Essential in studying material properties at the molecular or atomic level.
  • Microscopy: Soft X-ray microscopy allows for high-resolution imaging of biological cells, often without the need for staining or other preparation.

Reference adapted from: Collins English Dictionary. (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/soft-x-rays)

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