Four Things We Can do With X-Rays

From playing an intrinsic role in the medical industry to finding themselves in the labs of particle physicists the world over, x-rays are incredibly useful in a host of exciting ways.

But what exactly can they reveal to us about the world, and how are they used to benefit the human race in general?

Whether you happen to be an aspiring scientist, a tech fanatic, or you just want to know more about x-rays because you have to some time to kill, here are some of the best uses for them today.

1.   X-Ray Fluorescence

In order for scientists to discern the properties of a specific material quickly and accurately, they can use a machine called an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, a neat bit of kit that works by (you guessed it) directing x-rays at a sample.

The x-rays then excite the sample and cause the atoms to emit energy, which can allow scientists to analyze the molecular structure of their material.

It’s found in plenty of industries, particularly in ceramics, geology, and clinical analysis. If you wish to find out more, you may want to take a look at some of the more advanced machines on, as this may give you the insight you were after.

2.   X-Ray Astronomy

In order for science to do what it does best and answer the world’s most ancient questions, it needs to utilize the right equipment.

Searching the cosmos for answers is tricky, and sometimes it requires alternative techniques, such as x-ray astronomy, to observe celestial objects out in space.

Different types of radiation exist naturally out in the universe, and it can be detected by specialized telescopes that scour the electromagnetic spectrum for its effects.

These effects can then show the observer the nature of the celestial object in question, allowing them to reveal its properties; for example, the emission of gamma rays might represent the existence of a black hole.

3.   Medical Diagnostics

Perhaps the most well-known and commonly implemented use of the x-ray in wider society is the medical diagnosis.

If you have ever broken a bone, you will likely be well acquainted with this. By directing x-rays through solid matter like a human body, the density of the material in question can be ascertained by the way in which it reacts to the particles.

For example, bones are incredibly dense, so when an x-ray is used to pass through them and recorded onto a film, they will show up brightly, making any fractures stand out, thus allowing for an accurate medical diagnosis.

4.   Art

It’s not just the sciences that utilize x-rays – the world of art is in on the action too! By using x-rays to create avant-garde style images, artists like Nick Veasey have found a distinctive and beautiful use for the technology.

It’s a fairly popular area too, and not surprising once you consider how many people keep hold of their own x-rays after a trip to the hospital. After all, there is a certain wonderous quality about unveiling the mysteries of the unseen world.