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Basic books dealing with the interaction of X-rays with matter ussually don't mention anything about the polarisation, but I read somewhere that X-rays scattered in matter are linearly polarized, specially those scattered at right angles of the incident rays.

If I remember well, the reason was discussed considering the unpolarized X-rays as a mix of classical electromagnetic waves polarized in all the possible directions: each polarized wave produces electrons oscillations in the direction of the polarization, and this oscillation leads to the emission of (scattered) waves with the same polarization but with maximum intensity in the plane perpendicular to the polarization.

But we know that X-rays are not classical waves but quantum entities and they can be scattered by different mechanism: Rayleigh scattering, Compton efect...so, is the statement about the polarisation of the X-rays true? Is it valid for both types of interaction (Rayleigh and Compton)?

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  • $\begingroup$ X rays build electromagnetic waves when in an ensemble, exactly the same way that light happens or radio waves, or infrared. photons in an ensemble build up a classical wave. see motls.blogspot.com/2011/11/… $\endgroup$ – anna v Jan 14 '15 at 8:53

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