Why X Rays Cannot Be Diffracted By Ordinary Diffraction Grating


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    Why X Rays Cannot Be Diffracted By Ordinary Diffraction Grating

    X rays, or γ-rays, are one of the most damaging types of radiation. They’re capable of penetrating through most materials, which is why they’re so commonly used in medical settings. But what happens when you try to use an ordinary diffraction grating to disperse these x rays? You get a lot of funky looking images that are impossible to interpret. Why? Because ordinary diffraction gratings only work on waves with a certain frequency—in other words, they can diffract only certain types of waves. X rays are a type of wave with a very high frequency, which is why they pass through most materials unhindered. So if you want to use x ray scattering to study materials, you need a different kind of diffraction grating—one that can disperses x rays at high frequencies.

    What is Ordinary Diffraction Grating?

    Ordinary grating diffraction is the mechanism by which x-rays are diffracted by a regular array of spaced apart gratings. The x-rays are broken into small pieces as they pass between the gratings, and their direction of travel can be determined by examining the position of these diffracted rays. Ordinary grating diffraction is effective only when the grating cells are smaller than the wavelength of the x-ray being studied.

    X-rays have a much longer wavelength than light  emitted by the Sun, so ordinary grating diffraction is not effective for exploring the Sun. Instead, helioseismology uses a series of grating diffraction gratings that are much larger than the wavelength of x-rays being studied. These large grating diffraction gratings can be positioned over a wide area on the surface of the sun, and the positions of the diffracted x-rays can be used to determine the internal structure of the sun.

    How X Rays are Scanned

    Ordinary diffraction gratings scatter X-rays in all directions equally. However, because electrons have a greater mass than protons, the electron waves cause the X-ray waves to be scattered more in one direction than the other. This is why an X-ray beam will pass through a regular diffraction grating more easily than it will a piece of metal with a surface peppered with small holes.

    Why X Rays Cannot be Diffracted by Ordinary Diffraction Grating

    Ordinary diffraction grating cannot scatter X-rays in the same way that a regular grid of gratings can. This is because X-rays have a much higher frequency than light waves, meaning they don’t follow the same rules as other forms of radiation. This is why x-rays are not diffracted by regular grids of gratings – they pass right through them without being scattered.


    X-rays cannot be diffracted by ordinary diffraction gratings because they have a higher energy than visible light. They can only be diffracted by special kinds of x-ray gratings called synchrotron radiation X-ray sources.

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