Bremsstahlung

Bremsstahlung

. When a hot electron moves rapidly and freely outside an atom, it inevitably moves near a proton in the ambient gas. There is an electrical attraction between the electron and proton because they have equal and opposite charge, and this pulls the electron toward the proton, bending the electron’s trajectory and altering its speed. The electron emits electromagnetic radiation in the process. This radiation is known as bremsstrahlung from the German word for “braking radiation”.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University