Radiation with sufficient energy to eject electrons from electrically neutral atoms, leaving behind an Atom with a net electrical charge because it has lost, or gained, one or more electrons relative to the number possessed by a neutral atom of the same element. A positively charged ion (cation) has fewer electrons than a neutral atom; a negatively charged ion (anion) has more. Click on Term to Read More. There are four basic types of ionizing radiation:
- α particles (4He nuclei)
- β particles (electrons)
- Neutrons – neutrons are not themselves ionizing but their collisions with nuclei lead to the ejection of other charged particles that do cause Process whereby atoms lose one or more electrons to become cations. Ionization occurs by ionizing radiation or if an atom suffers a sufficiently violent collision. The “ionization potential” is the minimum amount of energy needed to remove an electron to infinity from the ground state. If the electron has already Click on Term to Read More.
- High-energy electromagnetic radiation, with short wavelength (~10-0.01 nm) and high frequency (greater than ~1016 Hertz). Although the boundaries are somewhat arbitrary, wavelengths shorter than 0.01 nm are called gamma-rays and those longer than 10 nm extreme ultraviolet (EUV). X-rays would be produced by blackbody radiation at temperatures in excess of or γ-rays (high frequency electromagnetic waves)
Some or all content above used with permission from J. H. Wittke.