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Basic Radiation Physics

Course Number: 570

What is Radiation?

Radiation is a form of energy that may be carried by a stream of particles (i.e., particulate radiation) or by waves (i.e., electromagnetic radiation).

  1. Particulate radiation consists of tiny, fast-moving particles that have energy and mass. The disintegration of radioactive elements produces this type of radiation, and it leads to the generation of neutrons and beta particles.1,2,3,4

  2. Electromagnetic radiation is mainly pure energy with no mass that travels through space and matter as waves at the speed of light in a stream of small "packets" of energy called photons.1,2,3,4