# Differential Cross Section

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.

• Have you looked at the Wikipedia pages on cross-section (physics) and scattering cross-section? – Kyle Kanos Apr 15 '15 at 13:31
• 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! – user1314 Apr 15 '15 at 13:33

## 1 Answer

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 