Characteristic X-rays may be used to identify the element from which they are being emitted. Can continuous X-rays be used for this purpose?
Characteristic X-rays are emitted due to the transitions of electrons among different shells. The wavelength of the X-rays emitted in these transitions have definite value for a particular element. But continuous X-rays are emitted due to the conversion of kinetic energy of an electron into photon, which varies from collision to collision and is independent of material. Hence, continuous X-rays provide no information about the element from which they are being emitted.