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Electromagnetic Waves - What are Gamma rays?
waves with a wavelength shorter
are called gamma rays or gamma radiation (not gamma waves).
Gamma rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Gamma rays may be emitted from radioactive materials.
Gamma rays have the highest
energy of all electromagnetic
waves. This means that they are dangerous to living cells.
Low intensity gamma radiation
can damage living cells and cause cancer.
What is Radiotherapy?
gamma radiation will kill cells.
It is used in a technique called radiotherapy to treat cancer
by targeting the cancer cells with a beam of radiation
and then rotating the source of the beam as shown below.
cells receive a lower dose of
than the cancer cells, where all the rays meet.
Radiotherapy aims to kill the cancer cells while doing
as little damage as possible to healthy normal cells.
radiation is also used to kill microorganisms. This
is called sterilising. Gamma radiation is used to sterilise food
and hospital equipment such as surgical instruments.
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