Bremsstrahlung (German pronunciation: [ˈbʁɛmsˌʃtʁaːlʊŋ] (
In physics, electromagnetic radiation refers to the waves of the electromagnetic field, propagating (radiating) through space, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy. It includes radio waves, microwaves, infrared, (visible) light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.
The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol
, whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation of the lepton particle family, and are generally thought to be elementary particles because they have no known components or substructure. The electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton. Quantum mechanical properties of the electron include an intrinsic angular momentum (spin) of a half-integer value, expressed in units of the reduced Planck constant, ħ. As it is a fermion, no two electrons can occupy the same quantum state, in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle. Like all elementary particles, electrons exhibit properties of both particles and waves: they can collide with other particles and can be diffracted like light. The wave properties of electrons are easier to observe with experiments than those of other particles like neutrons and protons because electrons have a lower mass and hence a longer de Broglie wavelength for a given energy.
The atomic nucleus is the small, dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom, discovered in 1911 by Ernest Rutherford based on the 1909 Geiger–Marsden gold foil experiment. After the discovery of the neutron in 1932, models for a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons were quickly developed by Dmitri Ivanenko and Werner Heisenberg. An atom is composed of a positively-charged nucleus, with a cloud of negatively-charged electrons surrounding it, bound together by electrostatic force. Almost all of the mass of an atom is located in the nucleus, with a very small contribution from the electron cloud. Protons and neutrons are bound together to form a nucleus by the nuclear force.
Broadly speaking, bremsstrahlung or braking radiation is any radiation produced due to the deceleration (negative acceleration) of a charged particle, which includes synchrotron radiation (i.e. photon emission by a relativistic particle), cyclotron radiation (i.e. photon emission by a non-relativistic particle), and the emission of electrons and positrons during beta decay. However, the term is frequently used in the more narrow sense of radiation from electrons (from whatever source) slowing in matter.
Synchrotron radiation is the electromagnetic radiation emitted when charged particles are accelerated radially, i.e., when they are subject to an acceleration perpendicular to their velocity. It is produced, for example, in synchrotrons using bending magnets, undulators and/or wigglers. If the particle is non-relativistic, then the emission is called cyclotron emission. If, on the other hand, the particles are relativistic, sometimes referred to as ultrarelativistic, the emission is called synchrotron emission. Synchrotron radiation may be achieved artificially in synchrotrons or storage rings, or naturally by fast electrons moving through magnetic fields. The radiation produced in this way has a characteristic polarization and the frequencies generated can range over the entire electromagnetic spectrum which is also called continuum radiation.
Cyclotron radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted by accelerating charged particles deflected by a magnetic field. The Lorentz force on the particles acts perpendicular to both the magnetic field lines and the particles' motion through them, creating an acceleration of charged particles that causes them to emit radiation as a result of the acceleration they undergo as they spiral around the lines of the magnetic field.
In nuclear physics, beta decay (β-decay) is a type of radioactive decay in which a beta ray is emitted from an atomic nucleus. For example, beta decay of a neutron transforms it into a proton by the emission of an electron accompanied by an antineutrino, or conversely a proton is converted into a neutron by the emission of a positron with a neutrino, thus changing the nuclide type. Neither the beta particle nor its associated (anti-)neutrino exist within the nucleus prior to beta decay, but are created in the decay process. By this process, unstable atoms obtain a more stable ratio of protons to neutrons. The probability of a nuclide decaying due to beta and other forms of decay is determined by its nuclear binding energy. The binding energies of all existing nuclides form what is called the nuclear band or valley of stability. For either electron or positron emission to be energetically possible, the energy release or Q value must be positive.
Bremsstrahlung emitted from plasma is sometimes referred to as free/free radiation. This refers to the fact that the radiation in this case is created by charged particles that are free; i.e., not part of an ion, atom or molecule, both before and after the deflection (acceleration) that caused the emission.
Plasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter, and was first described by chemist Irving Langmuir in the 1920s. Plasma can be artificially generated by heating or subjecting a neutral gas to a strong electromagnetic field to the point where an ionized gaseous substance becomes increasingly electrically conductive, and long-range electromagnetic fields dominate the behaviour of the matter.
In physics, acceleration is the rate of change of velocity of an object with respect to time. An object's acceleration is the net result of all forces acting on the object, as described by Newton's Second Law. The SI unit for acceleration is metre per second squared (m⋅s−2). Accelerations are vector quantities and add according to the parallelogram law. The vector of the net force acting on a body has the same direction as the vector of the body's acceleration, and its magnitude is proportional to the magnitude of the acceleration, with the object's mass as proportionality constant.
A charged particle accelerating in a vacuum radiates power, as described by the Larmor formula and its relativistic generalizations. Although the term, bremsstrahlung, is usually reserved for charged particles accelerating in matter, not vacuum, the formulas are similar.[ citation needed ] (In this respect, bremsstrahlung differs from Cherenkov radiation, another kind of braking radiation which occurs only in matter, and not in a vacuum.)
The Larmor formula is used to calculate the total power radiated by a non relativistic point charge as it accelerates or decelerates. This is used in the branch of physics known as electrodynamics and is not to be confused with the Larmor precession from classical nuclear magnetic resonance. It was first derived by J. J. Larmor in 1897, in the context of the wave theory of light.
Cherenkov radiation is an electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium. The characteristic blue glow of an underwater nuclear reactor is due to Cherenkov radiation.
The most established relativistic formula for total radiated power is given by
where (the velocity of the particle divided by the speed of light), is the Lorentz factor, signifies a time derivative of , and q is the charge of the particle. This is commonly written in the mathematically equivalent form using :
The Lorentz factor or Lorentz term is the factor by which time, length, and relativistic mass change for an object while that object is moving. The expression appears in several equations in special relativity, and it arises in derivations of the Lorentz transformations. The name originates from its earlier appearance in Lorentzian electrodynamics – named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz.
In the case where velocity is parallel to acceleration (for example, linear motion), the formula simplifies to
where is the acceleration. For the case of acceleration perpendicular to the velocity (a case that arises in circular particle accelerators known as synchrotrons), the total power radiated reduces to
radiated in the two limiting cases is proportional to or . Since , we see that the total radiated power goes as or , which accounts for why electrons lose energy to bremsstrahlung radiation much more rapidly than heavier charged particles (e.g., muons, protons, alpha particles). This is the reason a TeV energy electron-positron collider (such as the proposed International Linear Collider) cannot use a circular tunnel (requiring constant acceleration), while a proton-proton collider (such as the Large Hadron Collider) can utilize a circular tunnel. The electrons lose energy due to bremsstrahlung at a rate times higher than protons do.
The most general formula for radiated power as a function of angle is:
where is a unit vector pointing from the particle towards the observer, and is an infinitesimal bit of solid angle.
In the case where velocity is parallel to acceleration (for example, linear motion), this simplifies to
where is the angle between and the direction of observation.
NOTE: this article currently gives formulas that apply in the Rayleigh-Jeans limit , and does not use a quantized (Planck) treatment of radiation. Thus a usual factor like does not appear. The appearance of in y below is due to the quantum-mechanical treatment of collisions.
In a plasma, the free electrons continually collide with the ions, producing bremsstrahlung. A complete analysis requires accounting for both binary Coulomb collisions as well as collective (dielectric) behavior. A detailed treatment is given by Bekefi, .while a simplified one is given by Ichimaru. In this section we follow Bekefi's dielectric treatment, with collisions included approximately via the cutoff wavenumber,
Consider a uniform plasma, with thermal electrons distributed according to the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution with the temperature . Following Bekefi, the power spectral density (power per angular frequency interval per volume, integrated over the whole sr of solid angle, and in both polarizations) of the bremsstrahlung radiated, is calculated to be
where is the electron plasma frequency, is the photon frequency, is the number density of electrons and ions, and other symbols are physical constants. The second bracketed factor is the index of refraction of a light wave in a plasma, and shows that emission is greatly suppressed for (this is the cutoff condition for a light wave in a plasma; in this case the light wave is evanescent). This formula thus only applies for . This formula should be summed over ion species in a multi-species plasma.
The special function is defined in the exponential integral article, and the unitless quantity is
is a maximum or cutoff wavenumber, arising due to binary collisions, and can vary with ion species. Roughly, when (typical in plasmas that are not too cold), where eV is the Hartree energy, and [ clarification needed ] is the electron thermal de Broglie wavelength. Otherwise, where is the classical Coulomb distance of closest approach.
For the usual case , we find
The formula for is approximate, in that it neglects enhanced emission occurring for slightly above .
In the limit , we can approximate E1 as where is the Euler–Mascheroni constant. The leading, logarithmic term is frequently used, and resembles the Coulomb logarithm that occurs in other collisional plasma calculations. For the log term is negative, and the approximation is clearly inadequate. Bekefi gives corrected expressions for the logarithmic term that match detailed binary-collision calculations.
The total emission power density, integrated over all frequencies, is
Note the appearance of due to the quantum nature of . In practical units, a commonly used version of this formula for is
This formula is 1.59 times the one given above, with the difference due to details of binary collisions. Such ambiguity is often expressed by introducing Gaunt factor , e.g. in one finds
where everything is expressed in the CGS units.
For very high temperatures there are relativistic corrections to this formula, that is, additional terms of the order of
If the plasma is optically thin, the bremsstrahlung radiation leaves the plasma, carrying part of the internal plasma energy. This effect is known as the bremsstrahlung cooling. It is a type of radiative cooling. The energy carried away by bremsstrahlung is called bremsstrahlung losses and represents a type of radiative losses. One generally uses the term bremsstrahlung losses in the context when the plasma cooling is undesired, as e.g. in fusion plasmas.
Polarizational bremsstrahlung (sometimes referred to as "atomic bremsstrahlung") is the radiation emitted by the target's atomic electrons as the target atom is polarized by the Coulomb field of the incident charged particle.Polarizational bremsstrahlung contributions to the total bremsstrahlung spectrum have been observed in experiments involving relatively massive incident particles, resonance processes, and free atoms. However, there is still some debate as to whether or not there are significant polarizational bremsstrahlung contributions in experiments involving fast electrons incident on solid targets.
It is worth noting that the term "polarizational" is not meant to imply that the emitted bremsstrahlung is polarized. Also, the angular distribution of polarizational bremsstrahlung is theoretically quite different than ordinary bremsstrahlung.
In an X-ray tube, electrons are accelerated in a vacuum by an electric field towards a piece of metal called the "target". X-rays are emitted as the electrons slow down (decelerate) in the metal. The output spectrum consists of a continuous spectrum of X-rays, with additional sharp peaks at certain energies. The continuous spectrum is due to bremsstrahlung, while the sharp peaks are characteristic X-rays associated with the atoms in the target. For this reason, bremsstrahlung in this context is also called continuous X-rays.
The shape of this continuum spectrum is approximately described by Kramers' law.
The formula for Kramers' law is usually given as the distribution of intensity (photon count) against the wavelength of the emitted radiation:
The constant K is proportional to the atomic number of the target element, and is the minimum wavelength given by the Duane–Hunt law.
The spectrum has a sharp cutoff at , which is due to the limited energy of the incoming electrons. For example, if an electron in the tube is accelerated through 60 kV, then it will acquire a kinetic energy of 60 keV, and when it strikes the target it can create X-rays with energy of at most 60 keV, by conservation of energy. (This upper limit corresponds to the electron coming to a stop by emitting just one X-ray photon. Usually the electron emits many photons, and each has an energy less than 60 keV.) A photon with energy of at most 60 keV has wavelength of at least 21 pm, so the continuous X-ray spectrum has exactly that cutoff, as seen in the graph. More generally the formula for the low-wavelength cutoff, the Duane-Hunt law, is:
where h is Planck's constant, c is the speed of light, V is the voltage that the electrons are accelerated through, e is the elementary charge, and pm is picometres.
Beta particle-emitting substances sometimes exhibit a weak radiation with continuous spectrum that is due to bremsstrahlung (see the "outer bremsstrahlung" below). In this context, bremsstrahlung is a type of "secondary radiation", in that it is produced as a result of stopping (or slowing) the primary radiation (beta particles). It is very similar to X-rays produced by bombarding metal targets with electrons in X-ray generators (as above) except that it is produced by high-speed electrons from beta radiation.
The "inner" bremsstrahlung (also known as "internal bremsstrahlung") arises from the creation of the electron and its loss of energy (due to the strong electric field in the region of the nucleus undergoing decay) as it leaves the nucleus. Such radiation is a feature of beta decay in nuclei, but it is occasionally (less commonly) seen in the beta decay of free neutrons to protons, where it is created as the beta electron leaves the proton.
In electron and positron emission by beta decay the photon's energy comes from the electron-nucleon pair, with the spectrum of the bremsstrahlung decreasing continuously with increasing energy of the beta particle. In electron capture, the energy comes at the expense of the neutrino, and the spectrum is greatest at about one third of the normal neutrino energy, decreasing to zero electromagnetic energy at normal neutrino energy. Note that in the case of electron capture, bremsstrahlung is emitted even though no charged particle is emitted. Instead, the bremsstrahlung radiation may be thought of as being created as the captured electron is accelerated toward being absorbed. Such radiation may be at frequencies that are the same as soft gamma radiation, but it exhibits none of the sharp spectral lines of gamma decay, and thus is not technically gamma radiation.
The internal process is to be contrasted with the "outer" bremsstrahlung due to the impingement on the nucleus of electrons coming from the outside (i.e., emitted by another nucleus), as discussed above.
In some cases, e.g. 32
P , the bremsstrahlung produced by shielding the beta radiation with the normally used dense materials (e.g. lead) is itself dangerous; in such cases, shielding must be accomplished with low density materials, e.g. Plexiglas (Lucite), plastic, wood, or water; as the atomic number is lower for these materials, the intensity of bremsstrahlung is significantly reduced, but a larger thickness of shielding is required to stop the electrons (beta radiation).
The dominant luminous component in a cluster of galaxies is the 107 to 108 kelvin intracluster medium. The emission from the intracluster medium is characterized by thermal bremsstrahlung. This radiation is in the energy range of X-rays and can be easily observed with space-based telescopes such as Chandra X-ray Observatory, XMM-Newton, ROSAT, ASCA, EXOSAT, Suzaku, RHESSI and future missions like IXO and Astro-H .
Bremsstrahlung is also the dominant emission mechanism for H II regions at radio wavelengths.
In electric discharges, for example as laboratory discharges between two electrodes or as lightning discharges between cloud and ground or within clouds, electrons produce Bremsstrahlung photons while scattering off air molecules. These photons become manifest in terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and are the source for beams of electrons, positrons, neutrons and protons.The appearance of Bremsstrahlung photons also influences the propagation and morphology of discharges in nitrogen-oxygen mixtures with low percentages of oxygen.
The complete quantum mechanical description was first performed by Bethe and Heitler.They assumed plane waves for electrons which scatter at the nucleus of an atom, and derived a cross section which relates the complete geometry of that process to the frequency of the emitted photon. The quadruply differential cross section which shows a quantum mechanical symmetry to pair production, is:
There is the atomic number, the fine structure constant, the reduced Planck's constant and the speed of light. The kinetic energy of the electron in the initial and final state is connected to its total energy or its momenta via
where is the mass of an electron. Conservation of energy gives
where is the photon energy. The directions of the emitted photon and the scattered electron are given by
where is the momentum of the photon.
The differentials are given as
The absolute value of the virtual photon between the nucleus and electron is
The range of validity is given by the Born approximation
where this relation has to be fulfilled for the velocity of the electron in the initial and final state.
For practical applications (e.g. in Monte Carlo codes) it can be interesting to focus on the relation between the frequency of the emitted photon and the angle between this photon and the incident electron. Köhn and Ebert integrated the quadruply differential cross section by Bethe and Heitler over and and obtained:
However, a much simpler expression for the same integral can be found in(Eq. 2BN) and in (Eq. 4.1).
An analysis of the doubly differential cross section above shows that electrons whose kinetic energy is larger than the rest energy (511 keV) emit photons in forward direction while electrons with a small energy emit photons isotropically.
One mechanism, considered important for small atomic numbers , is the scattering of a free electron at the shell electrons of an atom or molecule. Since electron–electron bremsstrahlung is a function of and the usual electron-nucleus bremsstrahlung is a function of , electron–electron bremsstrahlung is negligible for metals. For air, however, it plays an important role in the production of terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.
Kinematics is a branch of classical mechanics that describes the motion of points, bodies (objects), and systems of bodies without considering the forces that caused the motion. Kinematics, as a field of study, is often referred to as the "geometry of motion" and is occasionally seen as a branch of mathematics. A kinematics problem begins by describing the geometry of the system and declaring the initial conditions of any known values of position, velocity and/or acceleration of points within the system. Then, using arguments from geometry, the position, velocity and acceleration of any unknown parts of the system can be determined. The study of how forces act on bodies falls within kinetics, not kinematics. For further details, see analytical dynamics.
In mathematics and physical science, spherical harmonics are special functions defined on the surface of a sphere. They are often employed in solving partial differential equations that commonly occur in science. The spherical harmonics are a complete set of orthogonal functions on the sphere, and thus may be used to represent functions defined on the surface of a sphere, just as circular functions are used to represent functions on a circle via Fourier series. Like the sines and cosines in Fourier series, the spherical harmonics may be organized by (spatial) angular frequency, as seen in the rows of functions in the illustration on the right. Further, spherical harmonics are basis functions for SO(3), the group of rotations in three dimensions, and thus play a central role in the group theoretic discussion of SO(3).
In physics, the Rabi cycle is the cyclic behaviour of a two-level quantum system in the presence of an oscillatory driving field. A great variety of physical processes belonging to the areas of quantum computing, condensed matter, atomic and molecular physics, and nuclear and particle physics can be conveniently studied in terms of two-level quantum mechanical systems, and exhibit Rabi flopping when coupled to an oscillatory driving field. The effect is important in quantum optics, magnetic resonance and quantum computing, and is named after Isidor Isaac Rabi.
In mathematics, the Hamilton–Jacobi equation (HJE) is a necessary condition describing extremal geometry in generalizations of problems from the calculus of variations, and is a special case of the Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman equation. It is named for William Rowan Hamilton and Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi.
In quantum physics, the scattering amplitude is the probability amplitude of the outgoing spherical wave relative to the incoming plane wave in a stationary-state scattering process.
The rigid rotor is a mechanical model of rotating systems. An arbitrary rigid rotor is a 3-dimensional rigid object, such as a top. To orient such an object in space requires three angles, known as Euler angles. A special rigid rotor is the linear rotor requiring only two angles to describe, for example of a diatomic molecule. More general molecules are 3-dimensional, such as water, ammonia, or methane.
In calculus, Leibniz's rule for differentiation under the integral sign, named after Gottfried Leibniz, states that for an integral of the form
Position angle, usually abbreviated PA, is the convention for measuring angles on the sky in astronomy. The International Astronomical Union defines it as the angle measured relative to the north celestial pole (NCP), turning positive into the direction of the right ascension. In the standard (non-flipped) images this is a counterclockwise measure relative to the axis into the direction of positive declination.
The Jaynes–Cummings model is a theoretical model in quantum optics. It describes the system of a two-level atom interacting with a quantized mode of an optical cavity, with or without the presence of light. It was originally developed to study the interaction of atoms with the quantized electromagnetic field in order to investigate the phenomena of spontaneous emission and absorption of photons in a cavity.
Photon polarization is the quantum mechanical description of the classical polarized sinusoidal plane electromagnetic wave. An individual photon can be described as having right or left circular polarization, or a superposition of the two. Equivalently, a photon can be described as having horizontal or vertical linear polarization, or a superposition of the two.
Zero sound is the name given by Lev Landau to the unique quantum vibrations in quantum Fermi liquids.
The Goos–Hänchen effect (named after Hermann Fritz Gustav Goos and Hilda Hänchen is an optical phenomenon in which linearly polarized light undergoes a small lateral shift, when totally internally reflected. The shift is perpendicular to the direction of propagation, in the plane containing the incident and reflected beams. This effect is the linear polarization analog of the Imbert–Fedorov effect.
The Appleton–Hartree equation, sometimes also referred to as the Appleton–Lassen equation is a mathematical expression that describes the refractive index for electromagnetic wave propagation in a cold magnetized plasma. The Appleton–Hartree equation was developed independently by several different scientists, including Edward Victor Appleton, Douglas Hartree and German radio physicist H. K. Lassen. Lassen's work, completed two years prior to Appleton and five years prior to Hartree, included a more thorough treatment of collisional plasma; but, published only in German, it has not been widely read in the English speaking world of radio physics. Further, regarding the derivation by Appleton, it was noted in the historical study by Gilmore that Wilhelm Altar first calculated the dispersion relation in 1926.
In mathematics, vector spherical harmonics (VSH) are an extension of the scalar spherical harmonics for use with vector fields. The components of the VSH are complex-valued functions expressed in the spherical coordinate basis vectors.
The Kapitza–Dirac effect is a quantum mechanical effect consisting of the diffraction of matter by a standing wave of light. The effect was first predicted as the diffraction of electrons from a standing wave of light by Paul Dirac and Pyotr Kapitsa in 1933. The effect relies on the wave–particle duality of matter as stated by the de Broglie hypothesis in 1924.
Surface-extended X-ray absorption fine structure (SEXAFS) is the surface-sensitive equivalent of the EXAFS technique. This technique involves the illumination of the sample by high-intensity X-ray beams from a synchrotron and monitoring their photoabsorption by detecting in the intensity of Auger electrons as a function of the incident photon energy. Surface sensitivity is achieved by the interpretation of data depending on the intensity of the Auger electrons instead of looking at the relative absorption of the X-rays as in the parent method, EXAFS.
In optics, the Fraunhofer diffraction equation is used to model the diffraction of waves when the diffraction pattern is viewed at a long distance from the diffracting object, and also when it is viewed at the focal plane of an imaging lens.
In physics, and especially scattering theory, the momentum-transfer cross section is an effective scattering cross section useful for describing the average momentum transferred from a particle when it collides with a target. Essentially, it contains all the information about a scattering process necessary for calculating average momentum transfers but ignores other details about the scattering angle.
In pair production, a photon creates an electron positron pair. In the process of photons scattering in air, the most important interaction is the scattering of photons at the nuclei of atoms or molecules. The full quantum mechanical process of pair production can be described by the quadruply differential cross section given here:
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