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X-ray mass absorption coefficients

When radiation traverses a layer of an element, it is diminished in intensity by a constant fraction per thickness x of that element. The emergent radiant power, P in terms of incident radiant power P0, is given by

P = P0 exp(-μ.x)

which defines μ, the total linear absorption coefficient. Since the reduction of intensity is determined by the quantity of mass traversed by the primary beam, the absorber thickness is best expressed on a mass basis, g/cm2. The mass absorption coefficient, μ/ρ, expressed in units of cm2 g-1, where ρ is the density of the material, is approximately independent of the physical state of the material. [Ref. 1]

Units

cm2 g-1

Notes

(μ/ρ cm2 g-1

You can look at visual representations of X-ray mass absorption coefficients using the following links.

Literature sources

  1. G.W.C. Kaye and T.H. Laby in Tables of physical and chemical constants, Longman, London, UK, 15th edition, 1993.
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