I know that to describe the attenuation radiation undergoes while passing through a material, we use the areal density (which is basically the penetration depth * density of the material) for beta electrons and then the photon attenuation coefficient for photons. My question is why can't we use areal density for photons as well? Is it because they are very penetrating and thus the penetration depth would be too big? Or maybe because since they have no mass they are just slowed down but do not really "bump" into the material's electrons to lose their energy?

  • $\begingroup$ For gammas areal density works just fine. For photon energies sensitive to the band structure, not so much. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Mar 16 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ What do you exactly mean by band structure? $\endgroup$ – Agnese Mar 17 at 9:30

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