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SK2550 X-ray Physics and Applications 6.0 credits

Since their discovery in 1895, x-rays have become an invaluable tool for probing the structure of matter, and the use of x-ray radiation in science and industry is still growing. The aim of this course is to provide an understanding of materials and methods in modern x-ray physics. Important issues are x-ray optical properties of different materials, x-ray optics and detectors, present and future x-ray sources and x-ray analytical methods.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus SK2550 (Spring 2022–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Part 1: X-ray basics

X-ray interaction with matter, X-ray sources, X-ray optics, X-ray detectors

Part 2: Application examples and special topics

To be chosen by the course participants (see website)

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course the student should be able to:

  • describe X-ray scattering properties of different materials
  • explain different X-ray sources, X-ray optics and X-ray detectors
  • conduct a basic X-ray experiment
  • evaluate an analytical method using X-rays

Course disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

English B / English 6

Recommended prerequisites

The course is designed for final year students (F4), Master and PhD-students. Knowledge of the physics of electromagnetic radiation corresponding to SK1120 (Waves, 6 hp) and in basic mathematics (vector analysis, integrals, differential equations) is a prerequisite. Moreover, knowledge in optics corresponding to SK2300 (Optical Physics, 6 hp) is of advantage.


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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • INLA - Home Assignment, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • REDA - Examination, 3.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

The course is examined through home assignments and lab report (INLA, 3 credits, P/F) and an oral presentation and examination (REDA - 3 credits, A-F). The oral examination determines the final grade.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination



Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web SK2550

Offered by

Main field of study

Engineering Physics, Physics

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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Ulrich Vogt (