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Radiation : Definition ,Types, & FAQs

Jul 12, 2022


Definition: Radiation is a form of energy that moves across the solar system from a source and is capable of infiltrating a wide range of materials. Some common examples of non-ionising radiation are radio, light, and microwaves. This article covers ionising radiation meaning and the various types of radiation.

Did You Know?


There are two types of atoms: stable and unstable atoms. The unstable atoms generate ionising radiation. It is because unstable atoms are different from stable ones in terms of carrying excess mass, energy, or both. Interestingly, high-voltage gadgets emit radiation (e.g., laptops, x-ray machines). Radioactive atoms are those with unstable nuclei. Such atoms release off or gain surplus mass or energy. These emissions are referred to as radiation.

What is Radiation

Meaning: Radiation is a form of energy that passes via a source (such as the ultra-violet rays emitted by the sun) travelling throughout the solar system at the speed of light. This energy is coupled with a magnetic and electric field and has wave-like attributes. It is sometimes known as “electromagnetic waves.” It is the movement of subatomic and atomic particles and waves, some of which constitute x-rays, heat rays and light rays. Everything on this planet is continuously hit with radiation.

Thus, what is radiation? It is an energy that flows from one location to another through particles or waves. Each individual in their daily life is subjected to various kinds of radiation. Some common everyday examples of radiation are microwave ovens in the kitchen, sun, and car radios. The vast majority of this poses no threat to human health. However, some can do it! 


Radiations tend to have a low risk if absorbed by the human body in lower doses, but at the very same time, they can pose high dangers if absorbed in higher doses. There are numerous types of radiation, and depending on their types, individuals must take different precautions to protect themselves and the external environment while allowing themselves to benefit from its numerous applications.

  • Nature has a diverse spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. One of its most common examples is visible light.
  • There are several high-energy radiations present in this universe. Some of them are ultraviolet radiation, gamma rays, and x-rays.
  • X-rays and gamma rays are extremely energetic. They can eliminate electrons from atoms when they engage, causing the atom to become ionised.

What is Radiation in Physics?

Radiation definition in physics concerns all aspects of radioactivity or electromagnetic waves. Scientists can use this technology for various purposes, including remote and sensor communication. Radiation, meaning in physics, is concerned with the interaction of ionising radiation with matter. A waveguide is required in radiation physics.


It deals with the properties of fundamental particles such as photons, electrons, nuclei, and positrons. These electromagnetic waves play an important role in physics radiation. Electromagnetic waves can be created by accelerating particles using electric and magnetic fields. The particles and waves flowing throughout space are reflected off objects such as the outer atmosphere and organisms.

So what is radiation in physics? It is a form of vitality emission that may be x-ray, gamma, ultraviolet, perceptible, infrared, or visible light. It is also known as any radiation. It is something that modern science does not value. Even though it is recognised as radiation, it is distinct from radiation. Radiation definition in physical characteristics could be quantified using various devices.


Here are some common advantages :

  • These radiations can be used to help in the recognition and control of items. It is used in many different types of telecommunication industries. Technological breakthroughs in the radiation industries.
  • Its innovation has led to the maturity of new technology development methods and applications. These breakthroughs have been used in various industries, including manufacturing and commercial, electronics, medicinal, and telecommunication industries. There are different types of radiation. Some of its prominent examples are gamma rays, x-ray radiation, visible light, and neutrons.
  • A few radiation-related facilities are being built. These centres focus on various aspects of radiation, including nuclear physics, atomic radiation, in vitro fertilisation, etc. Cancer researchers have discovered a slew of promising radiation-based treatments in recent years, including radiation therapy, medication therapy, treatment for cancer, etc.

Types of Radiation

Non-ionising Radiation

Non-ionising radiation is low-energy radiation that cannot extract electrons from molecules or atoms from living or non-living organisms. However, its energy can cause those molecules to vibrate and generate heat. Microwave ovens are one of the best examples of non-ionising radiations.


Non-ionising radiation somehow doesn’t endanger people’s health. But the workers who are in frequent touch with non-ionising radiation sources, on the other hand, may require additional precautions to protect themselves from additional heat. 

Two common types of non-ionising radiation are radio waves and visible light. Visible light is a form of non-ionising radiation that an individual’s eye may perceive. On the other hand, radio waves are non-ionising radiation invisible to individual eyes and other body senses but can be deciphered by conventional radios.


Ionising Radiation

Ionising radiation is high-energy radiation that can extract electrons from molecules or atoms, causing atomic-level alterations when interacting with anything, including living creatures. Such modifications frequently form ions (electrostatically atoms or molecules), hence the term “ionising” radiation.

Ionising radiation can negatively impact human cells, damage organs or can even result in the death of a person in case of exposure to high doses. However, these types of radiation have numerous useful purposes in the correct uses and doses, as well as with the essential preventive measures, such as in industry, energy generation, research, and clinical applications and treatment of various disorders, such as cancer.

Curiously Enough

There are two types of radiation: electromagnetic radiation (like light) and suspended particulate radiation (here mass released off with the energy of action). There are various examples of electromagnetic radiation. Some of them are x-rays and gamma rays. Gamma radiation is produced by the nucleus, whereas the atom’s electrical component produces x-rays. Particulate radiation includes alpha and beta radiation.

How can humans benefit from radiation?

Humans can benefit from radiation in the following ways:

  • Health: Advance radioactive rays can profit humans in various medical procedures such as numerous cancer therapies and advanced diagnostic systems owing to radiation.
  • Energy: Radiation enables humans to generate power through nuclear and solar energy.
  • Climate and environment: Radiation is being also used to clean wastewater or to develop new plant kinds that are tolerant to climate change.
  • Industry and science: Using superior nuclear radiation, scientists can investigate things from the past or create materials with superior properties in automobile industries.
Did You Know?

The IAEA assists legislators and regulators by providing a comprehensive structure of international safety standards aimed at protecting workers and patients, as well as members of the general public and the environment, from the potentially hazardous effects of ionising radiation.


Radiation manifests itself as several sources of energy when in action. When imaging patients, radiation doses and the field of study are important components, especially during interventional operations.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Explain the interaction of radiation with matter.

Ans. Except for ultrasound, all kinds of energy employed in medical imaging are examples of radiation. Radiation works with the internal organs of the human body to generate information. Radiation has a straight direction until it contacts a matter. Radiation is absorbed and scattered by matter. According to the fundamental principle of physics, energy cannot be generated or destroyed; people can only transform it from one position to another. 

Energy has its fundamental units of energy. X-rays are used to check the functioning of internal organs. It photographs the system’s working. In this process, electric energy is transformed into x-rays and heat, light, and chemical energy.

2. How many types of ionising radiation are there?

Ans. There are multiple types of ionising radiation. In addition to X-rays, three more types of radiation are commonly used in science. They are known as alpha, beta, and gamma. Alpha rays (helium nuclei made up of two neutrons and two protons) can be stopped by a piece of paper, and beta rays (high-speed electrons) can be stopped by transparent plastic. Gamma rays (similar to X-rays but have smaller wavelengths) require concrete or lead to be effectively stopped. It can be stopped by any other material if there is a sufficient quantity. There are other, less prevalent forms of ionising radiation.

3. Does radiation accumulate in any part of the human body where it can kill you?

Ans. Ans. Ionising radiation doesn’t accumulate in the human body in the same way as light falling on the body does. The radiation which enters the human body vanishes in a matter of milliseconds.

Radiation effects may emerge after exposure to large doses in a short period, similar to how a terrible overdose of sunlight results in skin tanning. Thus, too much exposure to sunshine for a short period can cause ultraviolet radiation to harm the skin. In the same way, long-term exposure to a high range of ionising radiation may cause irreversible loss to the human body.



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