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By W. J. Meredith
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This number is the measured disintegration rate for radium, so that the new definition does not upset old quantities but extends the unit's usefulness to all materials. I. (Systeme International) unit of activity named the becquerel after the discoverer of radioactivity. The symbol is Bq. and a source has an activity of 1 becquerel if its disintegration rate is 1 per second. , and even a microcurie is equal to 37 000 Bq. CHAPTER V THE PRODUCTION OF X-RAYS THE X-RAY TUBE X-RAYS were discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen in November, 1895, whilst he was experimenting with the passage of electricity through a gas at very low pressure.
48 F U N D A M E N T A L P H Y S I C S OF RADIOLOGY Because the minimum wavelength is directly linked with the maximum electron energy, and this in turn is linked with the maximum applied voltage, it is always desirable, in X-ray work, to state the maximum applied voltage. ) value of the voltage or current, because it is this value which is related to the power being delivered. In X-ray work the photon energy is more important than the electrical power being used, so that peak voltages are stated, their designation being in a form such as 200 k V .
A fast neutron may produce fission, but in many cases instead of fission, Fig. 1 4 . — A 'chain-reaction'. straightforward neutron capture will occur, and uranium 239 will be formed. Owing to the relative abundance of uranium 238 this capture process would quickly remove the neutrons produced by any fissions and so bring the chain-reaction to an end. If energy is to be generated by uranium fission a method has to be found of eliminating the uranium 238 or its capturing property. Since the actual removal of the heavier isotope is not an economic possibility— chemical separation is impossible because the substances are isotopes and physical separation is extremely difficult and very expensive—the solution to the problem depends on the fact that uranium 238 does not react at all with slow neutrons, whereas with uranium 235 they produce fissions.