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Consider a free electron or electron bunch, would it have a corresponding refractive index? At low or high energies, the effects are obviously much different. I am curious to know (I haven't found) if anyone has worked this out in detail starting from fundamental principles. Thanks.

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    $\begingroup$ The refractive index is a collective property so a single electron does not have a refractive index. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Mar 22 '17 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ The refractive index of a gas of electrons is "well known". There are many discussions on the web. The search terms would be plasma and refractive index. $\endgroup$ – garyp Mar 22 '17 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnRennie So an electron bunch would? $\endgroup$ – StarStrides Mar 23 '17 at 10:36
  • $\begingroup$ @garyp however a plasma is quite different from a collection of free electrons; in the latter there is no screening of any electrostatic potentials from e.g. positive ions $\endgroup$ – StarStrides Mar 23 '17 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed as said above the refractive index is a collection of properties and does not really apply to microscopic entities. $\endgroup$ – MJC Jun 13 '17 at 13:45

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