I would like to know what exactly the term differential cross section means. It comes from electron scattering experiments which are used to deduce the charge distribution of a nucleus and the cross section is given as a function of the scattering angle. But I don't understand what it means.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Have you looked at the Wikipedia pages on cross-section (physics) and scattering cross-section? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Apr 15 '15 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I did have a read through the wiki page on cross section (physics) and didn't understand it very well, but I have had a look now at the scattering cross-section page and seem to have finally understood it. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – user1314 Apr 15 '15 at 13:33

Differential cross section is defined to be:

$$ \dfrac{d\sigma}{d\omega} $$

In plain words, this expression gives the probability that a particle passing through an area of $d\sigma$ before scattering can be found within the solid angle $ d\omega $ after scattering.

This Wikipedia image can give a clear picture enter image description here


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.