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I'm studying modern physics and have some questions about these three different scattering.

In the book and wiki all tells me Raman and Rayleigh scattering are inelastic and elastic collision separately, but what about Compton scattering?

Does Compton scattering include this two type of scattering since the picture in the book give me two angle of scattering with one differ from the original angle while one remains unchanged? Or it can't be categorized in any of above since it interact with an "electron"?

Hope to know the details, by the way I'm studying modern physics by Serway

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Raman scattering is inelastic scattering from molecules. The photon interacts with the molecule and changes the molecules vibrational, rotational or electron energy.

Rayleigh scattering is in the main elastic scattering from small particles whose size is less than that of the wavelength of the photon. The scattering can occur of atoms or molecules and for molecules the scattering can be inelastic with a change of rotational energy of the molecule.

Compton scattering is inelastic scattering of a photon from a free charged particle. If the charged particle is a bound electron then the energy of the photon must be much greater than the binding energy of the electron.

Side note: Rayleigh scattering is a particular case of Mie scattering. This theory explains in particular the white colour of objects which are made of particles of size greater than the typical wavelength : milk, clouds, chemical powders...

To add to the answer there is Thomson (no "p") scattering which is the elastic scattering of electromagnetic radiation by a free charged particle, as explained by classical electromagnetism.
It is just the low-energy limit of Compton scattering when the particle kinetic energy and photon frequency do not change as a result of the scattering.
This limit is valid as long as the photon energy is much smaller than the mass energy of the particle.

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  • $\begingroup$ For Rayleigh, do you intend to say "wavelength is less" or did you mean "size is less"? Also, it's important that the particle must be polarizable, so you can't get Rayleigh scattering from an elementary particle. $\endgroup$ – garyp Feb 5 '16 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ @garyp Thank you for point out the nonsense I was writing which I have now corrected. $\endgroup$ – Farcher Feb 5 '16 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ You could also point out that Rayleigh scattering is a particular case of Mie scattering. This theory explains in particular the white colour of objects which are made of particles of size greater than the typical wavelenght : milk, clouds, chemical powders... $\endgroup$ – Dimitri Feb 5 '16 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Dimitri One of the nice things about this forum is that one can edit other people answers. Please feel free to add and/or amend whatever you want in my answer. I did also think of making a comment about Thomson scattering. So please go ahead. $\endgroup$ – Farcher Feb 5 '16 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ @user1993 I would recommend asking that as a new question. $\endgroup$ – Dawood ibn Kareem Apr 1 '18 at 20:47

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