Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

ionizing radiation




Radiation that has enough energy to eject electrons from electrically neutral atoms, giving rise to charged atoms, or ions.

Ionizing radiation may consist of streams of high-energy particles or high-frequency (short-wavelength) electromagnetic radiation, including: Neutrons are not themselves ionizing but their collisions with nuclei lead to the ejection of other charged particles that do cause ionization.

Ionizing radiation can have a particularly serious effect on biological tissues, although this depends much on the type of radiation and the extent of exposure.


Related category

   • ATOMIC AND NUCLEAR PHYSICS