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Can X Ray Damage Electronics

author
Bob Roberts
• Monday, 23 November, 2020
• 9 min read

In all cases, the X -rays are generated in the same way, and they interact with objects in the same way, but airport scanners only use the “live” variety. In an airport scanner, the image receptor is equipped with a material that lights up when exposed to X -rays.

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(Source: sciencing.com)

Contents

So objects that block X -rays -- such as your phone or laptop -- will show up as dark on the image while everything else will be bright. In fact, most modern scanners have the ability to colorize the image based on density ranges to make certain objects easier to identify.

As for checked luggage, they actually go through a CT scanner instead, which is a whole different kettle of fish. X -rays are still involved, but they're emitted from multiple points in a continuously rotating ring, which are then used to generate a 3D image that shows all the contents from any angle without having to open it.

X -rays are a type of ionizing radiation, which means that the photons have enough energy to knock electrons out of the atoms they come into contact with, creating positively charged ions in the process. In large doses, ionizing radiation can harm biological tissue by damaging cell DNA faster than it can be repaired.

The polarity of each region represents either a one or a zero, which are the binary values used to store data electronically. While these devices are delicate around and sensitive to magnets, they're impervious to all forms of light, including X -rays.

You probably wouldn't want to take a portable hard drive through a metal detector -- and definitely nowhere near an MRI machine! Airport security will ask you to remove any laptops from your bag, but not because it needs to be treated any differently from the rest of your luggage.

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(Source: phys.org)

Rather, laptops tend to contain dense circuitry which can obscure everything else in your bag. Like computers and tablets, mobile phones -- smart or otherwise -- don't use any photosensitive materials in their construction, so they won't be damaged by X -rays.

While yes, these sensors are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, they're protected by shutters and the device enclosures. The atmosphere does a great job of soaking most of it up, but the higher your altitude, the more radiation is around you.

So when you're flying at 36,000 feet from New York to Los Angeles, you -- and your gadgets -- will receive the same amount of radiation as you would get from having two chest X -rays done. Steve Jobs Will Get a Memorial Statue in National Garden of American Heroes Apple's late co-founder is among the list of American figures who will be memorialized in new commemorative garden.

To give you a comparison of effects, it takes a radiation dose of about 5 SV to cause death to most people. Diodes and computer chips will show very little functional detriment up to about 50 to 100 SV.

Also, some electronic scan be “hardened” (made to be not affected as much by larger gamma radiation doses) by providing shielding or by selecting radiation-resistant materials. The gamma rays disrupt the crystalline nature of the inside of the electronic component.

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(Source: electricalcomponentsblog.wordpress.com)

Its function is degraded and then fails as more gamma radiation exposure is received by the electronic component. I put a cheap electronic game in my microwave oven at home.

Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.

For example, sunlight is a principle aspect of photosynthesis, the process that enables plants to grow and provides a virtually limitless and free source of energy. Directed radiation from antennae enables wireless communications, such as BLE (low energy Bluetooth) and Wi-Fi; however, unwanted radiation can have severely negative effects on signal and power integrity, cause electronic circuits to operate erratically and even damage components.

For most PCBs, the primary source of unwanted radiation is EMI from other elements on the board. However, in space, there are additional radiation effects on electronic devices that must be factored into PCB development.

Non-ionizing radiation, which is common near the earth’s surface, consists of the lower frequencies (longer wavelengths) of the electromagnetic spectrum and lacks sufficient energy to remove electrons or create ions of molecules or atoms. Ionizing radiation is high energy and includes alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays and galactic cosmic rays (GCR's), which are one of the primary types of space radiation.

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(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Although constantly in motion and location intensities are dynamic, space radiation can be classified as one of three types: As space radiation primarily consists of high energy particles, such as electrons and positrons, traveling near the speed of light, locations for different types are not discrete, but overlap.

Yet, we can identify atmospheric levels from an earth perspective where certain space radiation is likely to be present, as shown below. As shown above, high energy radiation exists throughout the earth’s atmosphere and consequently, all spacecraft, including satellite technology vehicles, and their electronic devices are subject to its effects.

These emissions are only a problem when they interfere with signal propagation along unintended circuit paths or routes. This is more commonly referred to as noise or electromagnetic interference (EMI) and can cause various signal integrity issues, especially at high frequencies.

This can damage the material being passed through as electrons are “knocked out of” atoms along the radiation’s path creating an ionic space around it. The level of exposure may be cumulative and cause gradual degradation of electronic devices, which can be a significant concern for unmanned platforms such as satellites where maintenance is most likely not feasible.

However, high-intensity single event effects (Sees) can interrupt the operation of electronic devices or render them unusable immediately. To gauge effectiveness, devices and components are tested in laboratories utilizing particle accelerators and other analysis equipment.

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(Source: www.seamarkxray.com)

Your reply sounds logical enough but what about metal detector? So you don't need to worry about the “every day” metal detectors also.

Piggybacking off of this, I had an instance not too long ago where I went through the metal detector and forgot to take my phone out of my pocket, so they had to use the portable scanner (this was at Disneyland), and not too long afterwards, my iCloud account was locked. It only occurred to me now that this might have caused it... not broken the device, but it locked it because there were some odd signals that it assumed were security breach attempts.

I've done a lot of travel with DSLR equipment and cards, I've never had an issue, it's safe to send through. From what I can tell, it's not really a question about the x -rays affecting the device, it's being able to determine if they are shells around bombs.

If enough high-energy photons hit anything, a significant amount of charge (read voltage) can be generated. Flash memory is written by applying electrical voltage to it, so if it is briefly exposed to strong x -rays or not-so strong ones for a longer time, eventually those electrons will hit enough atoms to build the charge necessary to corrupt some bits.

As a matter of fact, when you fly over the poles you can get a dose of radiation equivalent to several chest X -rays. There's a very interesting post from a guy who found that the memory card in this camera was blank after flying to Japan; my guess would be that the cosmic rays corrupted it in flight.

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(Source: freedomfightersforamerica.com)

My Minolta digital camera produced a perfect picture right before I arrived at the airport. My phone also was damaged, the screen turned white, and I had to order another one while waiting for my plane.

Smaller capacity cards still worked fine and no errors were noticed. Incidentally the radiation was strong enough to make EL sheet nearby light up, and also a scintillator sheet held over the tube with a plastic project box lid between it and the tube to block the UV emissions.

They now have the same type of security check at the courthouse as they do at the airport. When I left the courthouse and used my camcorder I noticed there were white horizontal lines across the screen.

The camera mechanic says that many times lens motors are dead after going through scanners at airports. I have every reason to believe the CCD in my camera was destroyed going through TSA screening this week.

The camera worked fine the last time I used it, the SSD card still holds previous images, but when I try to use the camera the image is 'midnight in a coal mine'. I happened to have thrown a silver bar into the same small camera sack at the last minute before going to the airport, so my guess is that when TSA saw an opaque rectangle, they cranked up the power.

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(Source: www.ehow.co.uk)

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Sources
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2 www.deviantart.com - https://www.deviantart.com/dokomanari/art/Mercedes-x-Annette-808520527
3 gamefaqs.gamespot.com - https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/204445-fire-emblem-three-houses/77973731
4 www.quotev.com - https://www.quotev.com/story/12235944/Fire-Emblem-Three-Houses-Oneshots/4