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Radiation - radiologystar

Table of Contents

What Is Radiation?

Radiation is the energy that travels through space or matter in the form of particle or wave. It involves transfer of energy from one place to another. It can also be seen as a form of energy given off by matter in the form of rays or high speed particle. Radiations are either photons or particles. Imagine a shaft of yellow sunlight beaming through a window. According to quantum physics that beam is made of zillions of tiny packets of light, called photons, streaming through the air.


Types Of Radiation.


A.  Non – Ionising radiation

B. Ionising Radiation


A. Non – Ionising Radiation:- This type of radiation has lower energy and does not have enough to ionize atoms. Non-ionizing radiation includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, and low energy ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Common sources of non-ionizing radiation include radio and television signals, microwave ovens, and various electronic devices.
Non-ionising radiation (cannot ionise matter): such as visible light, signals from mobile phones and radio waves, others includes:

— Acoustic radiation force.

— Infrared.

— Light.

— Starlight.

— Sunlight.

— Microwave.

— Radio waves.

— Ultraviolet.


B. Ionising Radiation:- Ionizing radiation refers to a type of radiation that carries enough energy to remove tightly bound electrons from atoms, leading to the formation of ions (charged particles). This process is known as ionization. Ionizing radiation has sufficient energy to break chemical bonds and can potentially damage living tissues and genetic material, including DNA.
ionising radiation (cannot ionise matter), such as radiation emissions from uranium ore and high frequency waves in the electromagnetic spectrum (eg X-rays), others includes:

— Radioactive decay.

— Cluster decay.

— Background radiation.

— Alpha particle.

— Beta particle.

— Gamma ray.

— Cosmic ray.

— Neutron radiation.

— Nuclear fission.

— Nuclear fusion.

— Nuclear reactors.

— Nuclear weapons.

— Particle accelerators.

— Radioactive materials.


Ionizing radiation can either be directly ionsing or indirectly ionizing.


A) Directly ionizing radiation (charged particles) electron, proton, alpha particle, heavy ion.


B) Indirectly ionizing radiation (neutral particles) photon (x ray, gamma ray), neutron.

Each type of ionising radiation is capable of disrupting stable atoms and causing them to have an imbalance of charge (ionisation). This can cause chemical changes in living matter which may cause harm to people’s health, depending on the radiation dose received. There are three main types of ionising radiation: alpha (a), beta (b) and gamma (c). Alpha and beta radiations are particles, while gamma radiation is a wave similar to X-rays. These forms of radiation differ in their ability to penetrate into the body or other materials and also in their ability to cause harm to people.


• Alpha particles:- As they are relatively big, heavy and slow, alpha particles are not able to penetrate very far through materials. They are stopped by a few centimetres of air or a sheet of paper and even by the dead layer of skin on the outside of our bodies. As they usually cannot penetrate into the body, alpha particles do not pose a significant hazard from outside the body. However, radioactive materials emitting alpha particles can get into the body by inhalation, ingestion or through open wounds. They can then damage tissue and have a greater potential to cause cancer than beta particles and gamma rays.


• Beta particles:- These are relatively light, small and fast, so they may travel several metres in air and can penetrate through exposed skin. Consequently, beta particles can present a hazard from inside or outside the body. They can be stopped by thin sheets of aluminium or perspex.


Gamma rays:- These rays have no weight and can penetrate through the body, depositing some of their energy on the way and so causing harm. Gamma rays are therefore a hazard both inside and outside the body. They can be stopped or exposure can be reduced by the use of thick, heavy shielding.


Ionising Radiation





Q. What is radiation?

Radiation is the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or a material medium.


Q. What are the main types of radiation?

The main types of radiation are ionizing radiation (e.g., alpha, beta, gamma rays, X-rays) and non-ionizing radiation (e.g., radio waves, microwaves, visible light).


Q. Is all radiation harmful?

No, not all radiation is harmful. Non-ionizing radiation, such as visible light and radio waves, is generally considered safe. However, high levels of ionizing radiation can be harmful.


Q. What are the sources of natural radiation?

Natural sources of radiation include cosmic rays, radon gas, and radioactive elements in the Earth’s crust.


Q. How does ionizing radiation affect living tissues?

Ionizing radiation can damage cells and genetic material by causing ionization, which may lead to cell death or mutations.


Q. What are the health risks of exposure to ionizing radiation?

High doses of ionizing radiation can increase the risk of cancer, radiation sickness, and damage to the reproductive and central nervous systems.


Q. How do X-rays work in medical imaging?

X-rays pass through the body, and different tissues absorb varying amounts of radiation, creating an image used for diagnostic purposes.


Q. What is background radiation?

Background radiation is the naturally occurring level of radiation in the environment, including cosmic radiation and radiation from rocks and soil.


Q. How is radiation measured?

Radiation is measured in units such as sieverts (Sv) or millisieverts (mSv) for assessing the biological effects on living tissues.


Q. How are radioactive materials used in medicine?

Radioactive materials are used in medical imaging (e.g., PET scans) and radiation therapy to diagnose and treat diseases, especially cancer.


Q. What safety measures are in place for workers in industries using radiation?

Workers in industries using radiation follow strict safety protocols, wear protective gear, and adhere to exposure limits set by regulatory agencies.


Q. Can radiation cause hereditary effects?

High doses of ionizing radiation can potentially cause hereditary effects by inducing mutations in reproductive cells, but the risk is generally low.


Q. What is the role of radiation in nuclear power generation?

Nuclear power plants use controlled nuclear reactions to generate heat, producing steam to generate electricity. However, they also produce radioactive waste.


Q. How is radiation used in food preservation?

Radiation is used to kill bacteria and parasites in food, extending shelf life and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.


Q. How does radiation therapy work in cancer treatment?

Radiation therapy targets cancer cells with high doses of radiation, damaging their DNA and preventing them from dividing and growing.


Q. Are there long-term effects of radiation exposure?

Long-term effects depend on the dose and type of radiation. Chronic exposure to high levels may increase the risk of cancer and other health issues.


Q. What safety measures are in place for X-ray imaging in healthcare?

Healthcare providers use lead shields, collimators, and follow strict protocols to minimize radiation exposure during X-ray imaging.


Q. How is radiation used in smoke detectors?

Smoke detectors use a small amount of radioactive material (americium-241) to ionize air, creating a current that is disrupted by smoke, triggering an alarm.


Q. Can you detect radiation with a Geiger counter?

Yes, Geiger counters can detect ionizing radiation by measuring the ionization produced when radiation interacts with gas in the device.


Q. What is the international symbol for ionizing radiation?

The international symbol for ionizing radiation is the trefoil, a symbol consisting of three interconnected circles, used to indicate the presence of radioactive materials.



Radiation Protection MCQs click here


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