deceleration of the electron or a loss of some of its kinetic energy. The energy lost by
the electron is given off as an x- ray photon. This process is referred to as radioative
interaction of an electron with matter. The radiation produced by this type of interaction
is called bremsstrahlung (German for braking radiation), general radiation, or white
radiation. The energy of the resultant photon depends upon: (1) the original kinetic
energy of the electron, (2) how close the electron comes to the nucleus (see figure
1-11), and (3) the charge of the nucleus.
(1) Since in this type of interaction the electron loses only a portion of its
kinetic energy, it may have one or more interactions with other atoms before expending
all its energy. In this manner, it could produce several photons with various energies.
Figure 1-12 shows now two electrons might interact with more than one atom to
produce photons with a wide range of energies.
Figure 1-11. Variation of photon energy is partly dependent upon
how close to the nucleus and intruding electron travels.
Figure 1-12. Typical paths of electrons producing bremsstrahlung radiation.