Thursday, September 6, 2012

Compton Effect - Definition

Compton Effect 

An effect that demonstrates that photons (the quantum of electromagnetic radiation) have momentum. A photon fired at a stationary particle, such as an electron, will impart momentum to the electron and, since its energy has been decreased, will experience a corresponding decrease in frequency.

In physics, Compton scattering is a type of scattering that X-rays and gamma rays (both photons with different energy ranges) undergo in matter. The inelastic scattering of photons in matter results in a decrease in energy (increase in wavelength) of an X-ray or gamma ray photon, called the Compton effect. Recent research suggests there may be a connection with the Doppler effect. Part of the energy of the X/gamma ray is transferred to a scattering electron, which recoils and is ejected from its atom (which becomes ionized), and the rest of the energy is taken by the scattered, "degraded" photon. Inverse Compton scatteringalso exists, in which a charged particle transfers part of its energy to a photon.

Source: wikipedia, NASA

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