Difference Between X Ray and Gamma Ray

X Rays and Gamma Rays both are very familiar terms, as the name suggest both of them are rays with high energy level. Many people know them individually but don’t know why they are different. It is important to know the difference to understand them better and how they work.

Below are all the differences between X-Ray and Gamma-Ray to have a better understanding of both of them.

X Ray vs Gamma Ray

The main difference between X-Ray and Gamma-Ray is in the way they are produced, except that X-Rays were invented before Gamma Rays. Due to different production methods, they also differ in terms of wavelength and frequency level. Gamma rays are relatively more dangerous in comparison and less affordable. Last but not least they have a different level of penetration power.

X Ray vs Gamma Ray

X Rays were invented by a German professor, although it does not have any side effects, if used carelessly with high radiation, it may cause some harm. In history, some people had died due to exposure to radiation resulting in Skin cancers. Its uses are not limited to fractures, even there are CT scans and for dental problems too.

Gamma Rays are more energetic rays that are used for severe disease, not only this they can also be used for space-related information. It has a smaller wavelength with more penetration power. It causes more harm than any other radiation. It can be obtained in more than one way. It should be handled with care as more exposure to the skin may cause some allergic reactions.

Comparison Table Between X Ray and Gamma Ray

Parameters of ComparisonX-RayGamma Ray
Production withBy losing the energy of energetic electrons.Radioactive nuclei
EnergyLess energyMore energy
Penetration powerLess powerMore power
AffordableMore affordableLess affordable

What is X Ray?

It is a standard procedure and was invented in 1895. There are no special steps that have to be taken before X Rays. Doctors asked for X Rays in case of examining discomfort or pain, diagnosed disease, and to check if the treatment is working or not. It has several types and uses. Even once they are used for the purpose of hair removing but FDA banned them due to the dangerous effects it may cause to health. One fact about X-Ray is that it does not show the diamonds.

Following are some conditions for which a doctor may call for X Rays:

  1. Bone cancer
  2. Breast tumors
  3. Enlarged heart
  4. Blocked blood vessels
  5. Conditions affecting your lungs
  6. Digestive problems
  7. Fractures
  8. Infections
  9. Osteoporosis
  10. Arthritis
  11. Tooth decay
  12. Needing to retrieve swallowed items

It uses less quantity of radiation for creating an image of the body. It is not advisable if you are pregnant as it may cause some harm to the baby. Otherwise, also it may have some side effects that include, hives, itching, nausea, light-headedness, metallic taste in the mouth, etc.

After the process, you can see the results. The doctor checks them and tells you if there is a problem or not.

What is Gamma Ray?

Gamma rays are the most energetic rays. It is mostly used for destroying brain cancers and other related problems. Rays focus on cells that are causing the problem. Gamma radiation detectors on satellites were launched in 1960 to monitor nuclear tests. More than expected explosions were founded. They are produced through following ways:

  1. Nuclear Fusion: it powers the sun and stars.
  2. Nuclear Fission: splitting a nucleus into two parts.
  3. Alpha Decay: heavy nucleus gives off a helium-4.
  4. Gamma Decay: when there is high energy in the nucleus of an atom.

Gamma Rays are used for the following purposes:

  1. Sterilizing medical-related equipment.
  2. Sterilizing irradiate food.
  3. Tracers for medicines.
  4. To kill cancerous cells also called radiotherapy
  5. For astronomy.

They can pass through most of the materials; they cannot be captured or reflected by mirrors. It can be used for deterring elements of planets.

Gamma Rays and X rays are similar rays that expose radiations. If given a choice gamma rays should be avoided due to their harmful effects on the skin, as their energy level is very high also they cannot be afforded by everyone, therefore are used for serious and harmful diseases.

Main Differences Between X Ray and Gamma Ray

  1. X Rays are older than Gamma Rays as they were invented before in 1895 by Wilhelm Roentgen whereas Gamma Rays were observed later on in 1900 for the first time by Paul Villard.
  2. Both of them are produced in different ways, while for producing X Rays energetic electrons lose their energy, for producing Gamma Rays radioactive nuclei are used.
  3. They also differ in terms of wavelength and frequency, X Rays have a larger wavelength and smaller frequency as compared to Gamma Ray that has a smaller wavelength and larger frequency.
  4. They have a different level of energy in photons, photons of Gamma Rays have more energy as compared to X Ray’s photons, this further results in a stronger ionizing ability of Gamma Rays.
  5. In terms of penetration, Gamma Rays have more penetration power in comparison to X Rays that has relatively low Penetration power.
  6. When it comes to affordability, Gamma Rays are less affordable as compared to X Rays that are more affordable or quite inexpensive.
  7. Gamma Rays are more harmful to the body than X Rays. Therefore most people prefer X Rays over Gamma Rays.


Therefore, with all the above information on X Rays and Gamma Rays, there should not be any confusion between the two. Both of them are similar in terms of health effects and high energy levels. Both of them carry energy that can remove an electron from a molecule and an atom.

Not only this they are forms of electromagnetic waves and travel at the same speed. Both of them are not good for the health but if compared X Rays are a better option as they don’t harm the body as same as Gamma Rays. Both of them are used for their respective purposes.


  1. https://inis.iaea.org/search/search.aspx?orig_q=RN:15016238
  2. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1086/309878/meta
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